The Murder Of South Africa’s Former First Lady

THE TRIAL

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Security guard Mkululi Ntshuba told the Cape High Court on Tuesday of his concern when he encountered his colleague Luyanda Mboniswa at the Dolphin Beach apartment complex on the night former first lady Marike de Klerk was killed.

He told the court that Mboniswa, who was based at the complex, was on dayshift, and was not allowed to be on the Dolphin Beach premises while off duty. Ntshuba said he had been in the security control room at the complex that Sunday night when he heard a voice say “security”.

He told the court that Mboniswa, who is charged with the rape and murder of De Klerk and robbery with aggravating circumstances and housebreaking, then entered saying he had come to borrow a car. Ntshuba said Mboniswa left the reception area but returned soon afterwards saying one of their colleagues Sipho Kem, who had a car, refused to lend it to him.

Luyanda pictured in prison with Karina ("my mentor, coach and friend")

Luyanda pictured in prison with Karina (“my mentor, coach and friend”)

Mboniswa then said he was cold and asked if there was a spare blanket for him but there were none available. Ntshuba said it appeared Mboniswa had been drinking, but he was not drunk. He was concerned about Mboniswa’s presence at that hour of the night because he was supposed to return to work early in the morning to relieve Ntshuba.

Ntshuba said when Mboniswa had not reported for duty by 7.15am, he then telephoned him. Mboniswa told him he was booking off for the day to see a doctor.

Mboniswa pleaded not guilty, but did not testify in his own defence. Earlier he had made a confession but said the killing had been masterminded by de Klerk’s dance teacher, John Thebus, – a contention rejected by the prosecution. “The defence counsel tried to show, then illustrate, another person may have been involved. There was no such evidence.” Finding Mboniswa guilty of murder and housebreaking with aggravating circumstances, Justice Hlope said the prosecution’s evidence had been clear and undisputed.

In 2000 Marike faced further emotional upheaval when her relationship with her fiance and businessman Johan Koekemoer, collapsed. When the media revealed that he was facing impending bankruptcy, Marike de Klerk defended her fiance, but soon after he faced a nervous breakdown and checked into a Pretoria clinic. In the later years of her life, she battled depression.

In 2000 Marike faced further emotional upheaval when her relationship with her fiance and businessman Johan Koekemoer, collapsed. When the media revealed that he was facing impending bankruptcy, Marike de Klerk defended her fiance, but soon after he faced a nervous breakdown and checked into a Pretoria clinic. In the later years of her life, she battled depression.

Hlophe said the fact that Mboniswa had gone to De Klerk’s home armed with the knife that he had used to stab her in the back, and had travelled a vast distance by taxi to Dolphin Beach luxury apartment, was an indication that he had planned the robbery and murder. “It was also clear that at times Mboniswa was being economical with the truth,” Hlope said.

Mboniswa’s mother, Sindiswa (42) had earlier told the court her son was a regular church-goer and had never displayed violent tendencies.

A pathologist told the Cape High Court that no sperm was discovered in forensic tests on the body of murdered former first lady Marike de Klerk. Professor Gideon Knobel, head of forensic medicine at the University of Cape Town, said however this did not exclude the possibility of vaginal penetration which could have taken place without ejaculation.

He found a stab wound on De Klerk’s left shoulder blade, which had a broken knife blade still in it, bruises on the head consistent with a “severe assault”, along with scratches, bruising of the deep muscles of the neck and haemmoraging inside the right eye.

Knobel also told the court that changes to De Klerk’s brain and lung indicated that she was still alive for a while after her system was starved of oxygen “but I cannot say for how long”.

Her former husband, FW de Klerk released a statement: "I have learned with great shock and sorrow of the circumstances of the tragic death of my former wife Marike."

Her former husband, FW de Klerk released a statement: “I have learned with great shock and sorrow of the circumstances of the tragic death of my former wife Marike.”

Former state president F W de Klerk took the stand to identify possessions stolen from his murdered ex-wife.  A few days after his first search of the flat, Investigating officer Superintendent Mike Barkhuizen met former president De Klerk, who identified the watch he had given his wife as a gift in 1990 as well as two torches which she had used while they were still married.

Luyanda Mboniswa was convicted by the Cape High Court of housebreaking and murder, but acquitted of rape. The court accepted that Mrs De Klerk, 64, was stabbed in the back with a steak knife and then strangled at her high-security Cape Town apartment in December 2001. Pathologists suspected she had also been raped, but Judge John Hlope said that could not be proved beyond doubt.

THE FUNERAL

Marike de Klerk, a deeply religious woman from an orthodox Afrikaner family, was buried in a private ceremony at the Rebecca Street Cemetery in Pretoria West. Hundreds of people gathered at the Wapadrant Gereformeerde Kerk in Pretoria around noon on Saturday to mourn Mrs De Klerk.

Marike-en-FWThe mourners were led by her ex-husband, retired South African president F W de Klerk, his current wife Elita, and the presidential couple’s three adopted children Jan and Willem de Klerk; and Susan Hillocks.

All three the De Klerk siblings are adopted. Jan is a farmer near Ottosdal in North West Province, and Willem is a businessman of Cape Town whose record shows a checkered financial career. He landed in financial trouble in his business dealings and was sued three times in the Cape Town civil court for debts incurred with Nedkor-Bank, Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winemakers Cooperative and a Cape-Town based company called Scoble en Scoble.

He has been married and divorced several times. As a young man he was engaged to Erica Adams,the daughter of a coloured parliamentarian — and his mother, Mrs De Klerk, had been very opposed to the relationship, which was ended before it culminated in marriage.

Mrs Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, chair of the ANC women’s league, who also attended the service, told the news media that South Africa’s previous First Lady’s death was an indictment of the crime situation in the country.

“It’s a tragedy that a fine woman who has contributed so much to the history of our country should have left us in such a tragic manner,” she said. “This could be a message from God to wake South Africans up, she said. “We should all do much more about the crime situation, not only the government.”

Marike de Klerk, the ex-wife of South Africa’s last white president, Frederik de Klerk, was buried in the Wapadrant Reformed Church in Pretoria.

Ten percent of her estate of just more than R2 million was to be divided between Christian organisations and the School for the Deaf in Worcester. No mention is made in the testament of bequests to her former husband or anyone outside the family.

TODAY – THIRTEEN YEARS LATER

Luyanda, pictured in the middle, flanked by two other prisoners from the Group of Hope

Luyanda, pictured in the middle, flanked by two other prisoners from the Group of Hope

Today Luyanda Mboniswa is a Responsibility Coach for the Facilitation of THE RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUAL in SA Prisons. THE RESPONSIBLE INDIVIDUAL is now being facilitated by offenders – guiding fellow inmates on a journey of change and responsible living!

“I am known as a murderer. I can’t wish it away. I must live with what happened that evening”, says Mboniswa today from Worcester Mens Correctional Facility, thirteen years after the murder. He is one of the leaders of a prison group called ” Group of Hope” a prison organisation whose aim it is to strive to improve prisoners lives inside and outside prison. They raise funds for two schools for the disabled and n childrens home in Worcester. They bought paint and under guard repainted the towns old age home. They also cultivate the fresh vegatables on the prison grounds which are needed for the HIV positive prisoners’ diet.

He explains that back then he had moved from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town to look for work, because he had to look after his mom. He never knew his dad.

However one day someone broke into his wooden shack that he was living in and stole his CD player and some of his clothes. “I really wanted another CD Player. So I thought I will just steal one from Mrs De Klerk’s apartment as I knew she was never at home that time of the month.”

“But while I was busy climbing into her flats window, Mrs De Klerk suddenly drew back the curtain.” She was home unexpectedly. “My one leg was inside the flat and the other one still on the outside. She screamed out. I had the knife in my hand which I used to force open the window. Things happened so fast.”

“I am sorry about what I had done. I have taken away a mother, and a grandmother, and a leader in the community.”

Former first lady Marike de Klerk’s killer, Luyanda Mboniswa, was sentenced to two life terms in the Cape High Court. He also got three years for his forced entry—housebreaking—into De Klerk’s home. He will be eligible for parole next year.

IN CONCLUSION

The de Klerk's later attended Mandela's inauguration as president at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The de Klerk’s later attended Mandela’s inauguration as president at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

The murder put the spotlight on high crime rates in South Africa, where about 20,000 people were killed each year at the time of the murder. Police say violent crimes have levelled off, but they have made little headway in bringing down the rates of rape, murder and assault.

Mr De Klerk shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for negotiating the transition to democracy. He led South Africa from 1989 to 1994. He left his wife Marike on Valentine’s Day 1998 to live with his mistress, and is now married to Elita Georgiadis, the former wife of a wealthy Greek friend.

Marike de Klerk is the highest profile killing of the post-apartheid era in a country where people are more likely to be shot dead in a robbery than die in a car accident.

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