SUSPECTED Tholeni serial killer Bulelani Mabhayi has been referred by the Mthatha High Court to the Fort England Psychiatric Hospital in Grahamstown for mental assessment.
The 39-year-old resident of Tholeni village near Butterworth is facing 23 counts of murder, eight counts of housebreaking and five of rape.
The counts of murder all relate to the killing of women and children in Tholeni in one of the worst cases of serial murders in the province.
Mabhayi has been in custody since his arrest on August 12 2012 .
Mabhayi was escorted to court yesterday by armed police officers. He wore white takkies and a grey lumberjacket.
The case was referred to the Mthatha High Court after it had been heard by the Butterworth District Court.
The state yesterday successfully applied for an order to move Mabhayi to Fort England for psychiatric assessment for 30 days.
Mabhayi will be moved today and the matter has been postponed to March for the psychiatric report.
Mabhayi’s Legal Aid SA attorney, Nick du Toit, said he has discussed with his client that he had to undergo psychiatric assessment.
“He does not have a problem on that my Lord,” he said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions earlier requested Mabhayi be sent to a psychiatric hospital after results of medical tests conducted on his mental fitness by a district surgeon were inconclusive.
Social development MEC Pemmy Majodina said she hoped the trial would be heard in Butterworth and not in Mthatha to afford the families an opportunity to attend proceedings.
“I have met with Justice Department Minister Jeff Radebe and informed him of the seriousness of the case and he agreed it is a priority case and has to be heard in Butterworth.”
She said most of the alleged crimes were committed in or near Butterworth and most of the people interested in the case could not afford daily transport to Mthatha. — email@example.com