Former police officer Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu says the incriminating video footage, depicting her telling an undercover cop and would-be hitman how she wanted them to kill her sister and her sister’s five children, was all an act.
Testifying before the high court, sitting in Palm Ridge, on Tuesday, Ndlovu said she had been coached and told exactly what to say by Njabulo Kunene — the man who told the police Ndlovu had hired him to carry out the murder of her sister, Joyce, and her five children. The youngest of the children was just five months old at the time.
“All the responses that I was giving was something I was told to say by Njabulo before we met with [the undercover cop] when they picked me up from hospital,” said Ndlovu.
More undercover footage has been revealed of a former Thembisa police officer allegedly telling a hitman how to kill her sister and her sister’s five young children on March 7 2018.
“Do I understand you correctly that you were told to respond in that manner by Njabulo Kunene?”
Ndlovu responded: “Yes, you heard me correctly. That is what I said. I was giving those answers in the clip but I was responding in that manner because I was told that is how I am meant to reply even for that day. He told me this on the same day, on the 7th [March 2018] after I met up with him at the gate of the hospital.
“Njabulo and I stood there and had a discussion of how I should respond. He said the driver was a thug and he would agree to take us to Bushbuckridge only if he knew we were going to do something that would get us money. I was coached by Njabulo to reply in that manner,” Ndlovu told the court.
“Njabulo did not have money for us to travel to Bushbuckridge.”
The video she is referring to is part of the state’s case against her. Ndlovu is accused of murdering five of her relatives and her lover to cash in on funeral and life insurance policies taken out in their names. Ndlovu is alleged to have pocketed more than R1.4m from policy payouts.
This video was obtained after Kunene had told police he was being hassled by Ndlovu, who had wanted him to carry out the hit. The police set up a sting operation that led to them planting a recording device in the car and capturing Ndlovu explain how she wanted the six to be killed.
In the video, she gives clear instructions that the family should be burnt alive in their home and says no guns and knives should be used. She said using weapons would cast suspicion on the deaths and would cause her problems when she sought to cash in the insurance policies. Ndlovu further states that she wants the children killed so that there will be no witnesses.
Only once the policies had paid out, would she be able to pay them for the job, she said in the video.
But in her defence on Tuesday, Ndlovu said: “If you look at the clip carefully, you will see that there is nowhere that I initiate conversation and that is because Njabulo had coached me on how to respond.
“He told me that the driver would ask me this, this and that.”
Ndlovu said the purpose of travelling to Bushbuckridge on that day was for her to take Njabulo and his sister, Cebisile Kunene, to a traditional healer she knew in the area.
She said she had checked out of the hospital where she had been admitted several days earlier to assist her friend.
Njabulo, however, testified he was arrested by Ndlovu several years ago on a gun possession charge. He said that several years later, he met up with Ndlovu, who told him that since she had helped him then, he should help her now.
Njabulo said first, Ndlovu had wanted him and his friend, Lakhiwe Mkhize, to kill a woman known as Gladys Nomasonto Ndlovu who lived in Thembisa.
When they failed to do that, she pestered them to kill her other relatives.
Mkhize testified that Ndlovu had wanted him to kill her elderly mother, Maria Mushwana, but he failed to carry it out.
The trial continues.