South Africa: the serial murder trial of a policewoman

JOHANNESBURG: Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu reacts to the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg yesterday. – AFP

JOHANNESBOURG: The trial of a policewoman accused of murdering five relatives and a boyfriend to collect insurance claims has captivated South Africa, battered by its brass in the face of blood-curdling allegations. Eyebrows raised in defiance, Nomia Rosemary Ndlovu, 46, sat casually on a Johannesburg court bench yesterday, her hair pinned up in two crooked buns.

A respected former cop, she intrigued South Africans with her frivolous demeanor in court, making faces and throwing peace signs at cameras. Prosecutors have compiled a chilling litany of evidence against her. Between 2012 and 2017, they say, her cousin, sister, boyfriend, niece, nephew and another relative were found dead – clubbed, strangled or gunned down. Ndlovu is the prime suspect behind their murders, accused of purchasing life and funeral insurance on behalf of the victims and claiming the money after their deaths.

Its trial has kept South Africans glued to their TV screens since its launch in mid-September. Ndlovu confidently entered the courtroom yesterday in shiny black heels and a green dress, a gray shawl wrapped around her shoulders. She denies any wrongdoing. “I am not the person who purchased my (murdered) sister’s insurance policies,” she told Tsonga through an interpreter, wrinkling her nose as the prosecutor sued. -examination.

‘Caught red-handed’
Twitter has been abuzz with screenshots of Ndlovu’s jaded expressions and thick painted eyebrows twisted into eerie shapes. Savoring media attention first, she turned aggressive last week and threw crisps at photographers, prompting police to shackle her legs. She cried several times in court, including the mention of her late boyfriend. The trial was twice adjourned after she complained of dizziness and chest pain. “He is not a typical South African serial killer of rape and murder,” forensic psychologist Gérard Labuschagne told AFP by telephone. “She’s a woman, she’s a cop, and (almost) all of her victims were family.”

Investigators allege that Ndlovu earned around 1.4 million rand ($ 93,000) from his bloody acts. She has been charged with several counts of murder, conspiracy and fraud. The affidavit contains mind-boggling details about his alleged modus operandi. While contract killers are believed to have done most of the dirty work, Ndlovu is said to have personally taken care of his sister Audrey: poisoning her tea before strangling her.

She was caught red-handed in 2018, when one of her hired killers notified police after they hatched a plan to burn down another sister’s house, prosecutors said. The fire reportedly set the woman and her five children, including a five-month-old baby, stunned by sleeping pills, their mouths stuffed with socks to avoid screaming. It turned out to be too horrible, even for a professional killer. A few days earlier, another hitman faltered at the sight of Ndlovu’s elderly mother. He gave up work, asked the frail lady for a glass of water and left the house. – AFP

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