Kimberley - The stepson who was charged with raping, assaulting and murdering his stepmother, could not be reached by witnesses, following her death, while he was also conspicuous by his absence at her funeral.
This is despite the deceased’s daughter and neighbour describing how the accused, Tsepho Tau, 22, and the deceased, Sedia Meriam Moemedi, shared a “mother and child” relationship.
A smartly dressed Tau, in an impeccable black suit, a gold watch and gold rings, took notes and twiddled with his pen from time to time during the proceedings in the Northern Cape High Court on Tuesday.
Louisa Zono, who lived in the same street as the deceased in Lerato Park, told the court how the accused had told her during May last year not to come to the house as she was “becoming a nuisance”.
She denied that Tau’s demand had anything to do with the accused wanting to discuss private family matters or that it was upon Moemedi’s request. Zono also said that she had never complained to the deceased that Tau disliked her.
She added that the last time that she saw Moemedi alive was when she had borrowed a plate from her, without going past the gate of the shack because of tension that existed between the accused and herself.
She said that she had not seen the deceased at all for a week prior to her death.
“It was raining that whole week and I had not phoned her. I spoke to Moemedi’s daughter and we decided to go to her house.”
On the day of the discovery of her body (June 11, 2011), Zono found the deceased lying on the bedroom floor, covered with a blue duvet. “I immediately ran out and called Kidibone (the deceased’s sister) who called on neighbours to alert the police.”
The deceased’s daughter, Pontsho Ndaba, 20, indicated that she and her stepbrother (the accused) used to affectionately address her mother as “Mammatjie” (small mother). “They were like mother and son.”
She added that after receiving the news of her mother’s death, she was not successful in contacting the accused on two of his cellphone numbers. “I tried to call him again the following Sunday but I could not get hold of him because his phone was off.”
Ndaba was unable to pinpoint any problems between the accused or her family and was puzzled as to why he did not attend her mother’s funeral.
“He is my stepbrother and we never told him or his family not to come. We neither tried to coerce them into attending the funeral.”
Kgalalelo Gloria Shuping, who ended her relationship with the accused after his arrest in July last year, was also not able to contact him after the murder.
“He owned a Nokia phone and I saw him using a silver-grey Samsung phone for three days during June which, according to him, belonged to his friend and colleague where he worked as a security officer.
“When Captain Dolf Louwrens and another five police officers came to ask me where he was, I told them that he was at work. I tried calling his number but he had changed his SIM card and his sister answered his old phone number.”
Legal representative for the accused, Advocate Paul Nagel, questioned whether the callers had dialled the correct numbers.
“He is posted, for work purposes, to places where he is not allowed to make use of his personal cellphone.”
Nagel added that the family of the deceased did not want him to be present at the funeral and that he felt “unwelcome”.
“He wanted to attend the funeral prayers, but there were problems between the two families and he decided not to go.”
He pointed out that there were other family members who also did not attend the actual funeral.
“The accused was prepared to collect R3 000 in order to travel with his family to Bloemhof, where the funeral was held, but the decision was made that he would not go.”
The case continues on Wednesday.
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