Johannesburg - An East London doctor has admitted to signing former ANC branch chairperson Zolani Xego's death certificate without seeing his body, the Dispatch online reported on Wednesday.
Xego and his now estranged second wife Vuyelwa Hlehliso-Xego face a charge of fraud after Xego allegedly faked his own death in 2007 to claim R3.5m in life insurance policies.
On the first day of the trial in the East London Regional Court on Tuesday, Dr Pieter Bothma said he had trusted Xego's family and had signed the certificate.
Xego reportedly took out two policies with Discovery Life - one for R1.8m in December 2005 and another for R1.7m in January 2006.
In August 2007, he allegedly faked his own death. His wife at the time, Hlehliso-Xego, was listed as the beneficiary of the policies.
When the policies did not pay out in time, the pair allegedly took legal action to force Discovery to pay up.
Bothma admitted in court that he had completed a death certificate indicating that Xego had died from natural causes on August 1 2007.
Bothma said a woman and a man claiming to be Xego's brother had visited his surgery and told him that Xego - a long-time patient of his - had died of an aneurysm.
"I trusted the family when they told me Xego was deceased. They gave an accurate account of death. I thought they must have witnessed it."
Discovery questioned the claim on the grounds that Xego had failed to disclose material medical information.