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Whose panties are they?

WOUNDED WIFE: Julia in court with her evidence

Married couple air dirty laundry in panty-pointing showdown

The term ‘airing one’s dirty laundry in public’ took on a whole new meaning this week, when a dispute between husband and wife led to ladies underwear being brandished in court.

But whose panties are they anyway?

This is what Molepolole Magistrates Court will have to determine after Julia Matlhoaphuti-Setlhabi insisted the tattered lingerie, including a pair of skimpy red panties, belong to her husband’s marriage-wrecking mistress.

However, Mosamarea Setlhabi, 57, maintains the undergarments are in fact Julia’s and denies ever cheating on his estranged wife.

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The jaw-dropping panty moment played out before court last Thursday in a case in which Setlhabi is seeking a restraining order from his wife of eight years.

“Those panties are hers; she wears them whenever she visits me. I don’t even know the woman she was talking about!” reiterated the seemingly shocked hubby in an interview with The Voice outside court, where he revealed he has served his wife with divorce letters.

The Thamaga native claims to have been kicked out of the matrimonial home in Moshupa back in February 2020, chased away by Julia’s eldest son from a previous relationship.

“He also insulted me saying I am a small boy. He would take some of my clothes and wear them; he even sleeps in our bedroom! Whenever I complained to his mother she told me that all the children are naughty,” stated Setlhabi, who has four children of his own while Julia has three.

Having relocated to his home village, where he insists he has been living alone, Setlhabi told court his troubles started on Christmas day last year, when Julia turned up and, out of the blue, accused him of having an affair.

“She went into the house, boiled some water and called me to the house before preparing soft porridge. She later poured the porridge on a plate and while stirring it, I quickly rushed into the house. She followed me and locked the house, she then put the keys in her panty,” testified the complainant, unaware that ‘panties’ were soon to play a bigger role in the drama.

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Setlhabi claims his wife attempted to pour the piping-hot porridge over his face when he lay down.

“I held her by my hands and managed to send my younger brother a message that Julia was harassing me,” he continued, adding this further infuriated his wife who suspected he was in fact texting his mistress and warning her not to come round.

Corroborating his brother’s version of events, Setlhabi’s younger sibling, Anderson Setlhabi, 40, told court he indeed received such a text message.

“I phoned my other brother to accompany me to their place. When we got there, they were quarrelling for a phone and their tempers were too high that we couldn’t calm them. I called the police and when they arrived Julia said she did not want a police case, she wanted it to be settled before the elders,” recollected Anderson.

TAKING THE LEGAL ROUTE: Setlhabi is seeking a restraining order

Although the couple’s parents attempted to reconcile the pair, their efforts bore no fruit.

Indeed, the issue took a turn for the worse on 8 January.

Complaining of a pain in her leg, which she maintains was inflicted in the Christmas scuffle, Julia says she went to the clinic, where an x-ray showed she had sustained a fracture.

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The 56-year-old insists her husband only approached the court because she reported him to the cops for assault.

Giving a completely different account of what happened on 25 December 2020, Julia told court she was injured by Setlhabi during a scuffle for his phone. The aggrieved wife claims he was trying to delete naked pictures of himself with another woman, which she had spotted on the phone.

According to Julia, she began suspecting her husband was cheating back in February last year.

Having borrowed his phone to talk to her daughter, Julia says the cell then pinged with a missed call from a certain ‘Mpho’. When she returned the phone to Setlhabi, instead of calling back he switched the device off.

The next day, after again taking her hubby’s phone, this time to use as a light, Julia says she spotted a message which read, “Why did you switch off your cellphone when I want you here?”

The aggrieved wife further told court, when returning home from a piece job later that same month she was shocked to discover her husband had moved out and relocated back to Thamaga.

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However, it was not until 10 months later, annoyed that he had stopped taking her calls, that Julia reported her ‘runaway’ husband to the District Commissioner’s office, who in turn advised her to go and talk to Setlhabi.

“During my visit, he offered me some tea but kept on moving up and down busy with his phone sending messages. I got fed up and went into the house. I took off my clothes since I only came with one dress, but when I took my blue towel to cover myself that’s when I found another woman’s panties wrapped inside,” narrated Julia, holding the offending garments at arm’s length, a look of disdain upon her face as she lifted the panties up for the court to see.

To compound the situation, Julia claims it was shortly after the panty discovery that she uncovered the nude pics on her hubby’s phone.

“When I tried to take the phone from him, he pinned me against the wall while deleting the photos,” she told court.

In total, two pairs of panties, a towel, t-shirt and stilettos were marked as exhibits before court.

With tempers running high and the case heating up, the day ended with a slight anti-climax as, complaining of pains in her fractured leg, Julia revealed she was not feeling fit enough to be cross-examined by her husband.

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The Magistrate thus postponed the matter until Monday 4 October.

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