Cops investigate funeral policy scam after man gunned down near tavern
A Port Elizabeth sangoma has found herself at the centre of a murder investigation after a man on whom she took out at least three funeral policies was mysteriously gunned down. Lindikhaya “Chippa” Makosa, 41, of Kwazakhele, was shot in the head shortly after leaving a tavern close to his home in Daku Road on October 20.
According to his elder brother, George, 54, of Summerstrand, three people arrived at Makosa’s house earlier and asked his sister about his whereabouts, but she had told them she did not know where he was.
He said they must have found out that Makosa was at the tavern. He was gunned down as he left the tavern.
After Makosa’s family notified police about one of the funeral policies taken out by sangoma Dudu Siphamla, 35, of Bluewater Bay, the focus of the investigation shifted onto her.
Siphamla has denied any involvement in Makosa’s death.
Police spokesman Constable Mncedi Mbombo said detectives had already confiscated Siphamla and her boyfriend’s cellphones.
A reward of R15 000 was also being offered for information leading to any arrests and convictions.
“It is alleged that Siphamla had insured the deceased for R50 000,” Mbombo said.
“When we questioned her about this, she said Makosa worked for her as a gardener, hence the need to insure him.”
Mbombo said they were not happy with her answers and that the matter was still under investigation.
“What we want to know is why she employed a mentally challenged man to work as a gardener and then insured him,” he said.
Mbombo said the murder case opened at the Kwazakhele station in October had been provisionally withdrawn and would be placed back on the court roll when the investigation was finalised.
The first policy – complete funeral cover for R50 000 – was taken out with Metropolitan Life in May.
Metropolitan Life forensic boss Leon Pretorius said four R391 monthly premiums were paid by Siphamla.
“Siphamla claimed Makosa was her cousin,” he said.
“Six days after Makosa was killed, we received a claim alluding to the fact that he had died of unnatural causes.
“But before the company started processing the claim, it received an anonymous tip-off.
“We did a comprehensive investigation and it transpired that Makosa was insured without his consent,” Pretorius said.
“We also found that the relationship was incorrect and that she [Siphamla] was not related to the Makosa family.”
Pretorius said people often insured unsuspecting individuals with a number of companies.
“They pay premiums every month linked to multiple policies with different companies,” he said.
The Herald was able to establish that a second policy was taken out with 1Life Insurance.
Carla Visser, of Orange Ink that manages 1Life Insurance’s public relations, said she could not provide details as it might jeopardise criminal investigations.
Contacted for comment, Siphamla insisted she was related to Makosa, but could not give details of the relationship.
“I was doing everything for him prior to his death,” she said.
“His family never stayed with him, but now all the insurance companies do not want to pay. They say we were never related.
“I will go to the police to make an affidavit stating that I looked after him before his death.”
Asked why she had taken out multiple policies and why the Makosa family had refuted claims that they were related, an irritated Siphamla said: “I am getting very annoyed with your line of questioning. “I am tired of you phoning me.” With that, she ended the call. When a Herald team visited Siphamla, who practices as a sangoma from a container in Daku Road, she said she was attending to an elderly man.
When she saw a photographer, a fuming Siphamla took cover under animal skins hanging from the roof and signalled for someone to come to her.
“You have gone too far this time around,” she yelled.
George denied any family link to Siphamla.
But he said the family had learnt via the grapevine that she had assisted his brother with an ID application, which led to a confrontation after she refused to hand over the document.
“Eventually, she agreed to hand it over,” he said. “But my brother was gunned down the night before she was due to hand it over.”
George said the family was struggling to come to terms with his brother’s death.
Makosa was described as a quiet man who loved to sing at the Daku SPAR and KFC in Njoli Street.
A few days after his death, George said he was approached by Siphamla who offered to pay R10 000 towards the funeral.
“I asked where the money would come from,” he said.
“She told me that she had taken out a R10 000 funeral policy for my brother at Pep Stores.” However, this third policy could not be verified with the store.
George claimed Siphamla used his brother’s ID to get the funeral cover and then, later, his death certificate to ensure she received the money from the policies.
He said the family had declined the offer of assistance and refuted claims that his brother worked as her gardener.
“Lindikhaya was a people’s person. We want the law to take its course,” George said.
The family contributed towards the cost of the funeral and Makosa was buried on October 28.