South Africa News

Woman accused of killing family for life insurance back in court next week to continue bail application

The woman accused of murdering a family member for an insurance payout will be back in court next week, for the continuation of her bail application.

Agnes Setshwantsho made her third court appearance at Molopo Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday facing a charge of murder, two counts of fraud and one of defeating the ends of justice.

The proceedings were delayed due to her legal representative missing in action, while the state asked for another postponement.

“When we postponed this matter, the court will remember the defence asked that we prioritise the matter and the state also responded on that. Since the state arrived here at 8am, Mr Nhlanhla Mahlangu, has been trying to communicate with one of my colleagues and I also spoke to him just before I entered this court and he said he would be here in two minutes’ time,” the state argued.

“Your worship, it is the duty of the court to teach the practitioners respect and make sure that the dignity and respect of this court is back.

“The state is, therefore, asking that we postpone to another date as we cannot wait someone we do not know where he is as we speak.”

Asked where her legal representative was, Setshwantsho said: “I don’t know about the whereabouts of my legal representative, but there is an issue that I want to raise. I never had an issue with my legal representative, but I deem it fit to raise my issues in his absence,” said Setshwantsho.

The judge asked her to discuss her matter with her legal representative.

“I’m not being treated well here by the officials, because if my matter is postponed in the absence of my legal representative, when will I have the opportunity to address my issues?” She responded.

During her second court appearance last Friday, the state opposed bail on the basis that the accused was a flight risk and had previously evaded arrest.

Prosecutor Ntendeleni Tshinyani told the court that acclaimed investigator Sgt Keshi Mabunda would take to the stand.

Mabunda told that court that he would exhume Setshwantsho’s husband, her daughter who died in 2016 and her other daughter who died in 2005.

“More serious charges will be added,” he said.

While the defence previously indicated that the accused had no pending matters, on 18 November it was informed of a case that had been opened against her in Setlagole on a charge of theft under false pretext.

Setshwantsho has a previous conviction for assault. However, her lawyer, Mahlangu, reading the bail affidavit, said Setshwantsho would plead not guilty to all charges against her.

The defence had also appealed for an urgent bail, saying she has high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes and had not been able to take her insulin shots since her arrest.

It added she also doubted if the facility where she is being held had the capacity to store her medication.

She said she could afford R3,000 bail and had no intention of calling any witnesses.

Setshwantsho will be back in court on 13 December for the continuation of her bail application.

NPA North West spokesperson Henry Mamothame, however, said there were no compelling reasons for her to be granted bail.

“Mabunda will continue giving evidence as to why she should not be granted bail. We are expecting the acccused’s attorney to cross-examine Mr Mabunda but we believe we have given sufficient reason for her not to be granted bail,” Mamothame said.

The North West woman was arrested on 16 November on allegations she murdered her relatives to benefit from insurance claims.

The 49-year-old woman was traced to and arrested in Centurion during a takedown operation led by the Saps in collaboration with an insurance company.

For the past two months, Mabunda and a team of detectives had been working on the case after a tip-off from relatives of this suspect. Mabunda was roped in to kick-start investigations due to his expertise in solving similar cases.

According to Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, through analysis and collection of evidence including the exhumation of a body, the team was able to link its latest suspect to the team’s first focus of the case.

The murder that was initially ruled a ‘natural death’ happened in Mmabatho in the North West, where a female relative died under mysterious circumstances in March 2023.

Investigations revealed the suspect allegedly fraudulently took out insurance on behalf of her relative, prior to her murder.

Police are also investigating the deaths of the suspect’s son, who died in July 2023, her husband, who died in 2016 and her two daughters, who died in 2015 and 2005.

The suspect allegedly pocketed large amounts of money throughout her activities.

Rosemary Ndlovu

Mabunda, roped in the investigations due to his expertise in solving similar cases, is the one who nailed Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu.

Ndlovu, a former police officer, was in 2021 sentenced to life in prison for plotting to kill her sister and her sister’s five children in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, to cash in on insurance and funeral policy payouts.

She was also slapped with five years for defeating the ends of justice, 10 years for each count of fraud, 10 years for each of the seven counts of incitement to commit murder and 10 years for attempting to murder her mother.

Ndlovu received more than R1.4 million in insurance payouts after the deaths of five of her relatives and her boyfriend over a period of six years between 2012 and 2018.

Her killing spree came to an end when Vincent Kunene, one of the hitmen she hired to kill her sister as well as her children, was horrified that she wanted kids murdered and reported it to the police.

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