South Africa News

Lawyers say man arrested for brutal murder of his 5-year-old cousin is not mentally fit

Mpumalanga man, Reply Ngobeni, 27, made his third appearance in the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court for the murder of his five-year-old cousin, Testimony Manchidi.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in Mpumalanga, the gruesome murder happened after Ngobeni took the little girl to a local shop to buy snacks on July 25.

“The accused (Ngobeni) returned alone and informed the family that the victim went to play with other children in the neighbourhood,” NPA Mpumalanga regional spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said.

“The family became worried and started a search and later discovered the victim’s lifeless body in the nearby bush with her throat slit and stab wounds on the upper body.”

Nyuswa said this week, the murder-accused uncle appeared for a formal bail application, which the State initially opposed due to the seriousness of the offence.

“However, his legal representative told the court that the accused is not mentally stable, and requested the accused to be taken for mental observation,” said Nyuswa.

Prosecutor Asanda Soduka told the court that the State had hospital records proving that the accused was receiving medication.

“Therefore, all parties involved agreed to postpone the matter to September 1, for mental observation to determine the accused’s fitness to stand trial,” said Nyuswa.

The NPA in Mpumalanga has condemned all forms of violence perpetrated against women and children.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the murder rate in South Africa has increased by 3.4 percent between January and March.

This was revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele during the release of the Q4 crime statistics in May.

“This is the lowest single-digit decrease recorded, compared to the previous three quarters,” Cele said at the time.

“Though it is a decrease, these are not just figures but human lives that should be protected at all costs. This is why these figures prompt us as the police to double-up policing efforts to decrease contact crimes.”

According to Cele, 6,289 people were killed with either a firearm, knife, sharp and blunt instruments, stone, or even bare hands during this period.

Cele said that the majority of the killings took place in KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Cape and Gauteng, with arguments, vigilantism, and robberies topping the motive list for murder.

-IOL

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