A Dimbaza man accused of stabbing his five-year-old niece to death died in prison at the weekend while waiting for a bed at a mental hospital.
Andile Maqabangqa, 38, had stopped taking his epilepsy medication before he allegedly stabbed his sister’s daughter Zizipho in her heart using a kitchen knife.
When his mother, the child’s grandmother, Joyce Maqabangqa, 70, intervened, the accused stabbed her in her upper chest.
The incident occurred in their Minningberg home on the evening of February 7 this year.
After his arrest he appeared in the Dimbaza Magistrate’s Court, where presiding magistrate Nceba Madiba ordered that he be taken to the Fort England psychiatric hospital in Grahamstown for evaluation.
But instead he was kept in the King William’s Town prison for nine months as he waited for a bed to become available.
Police spokeswoman Captain Siphokazi Mawisa said police were still waiting for a referral date from the psychiatric hospital when they received news that Maqabangqa had died in his prison cell on Saturday.
Correctional Services spokeswoman Vuyo Gadu said the deceased had died after suffering epileptic seizures.
He had last been in court on August 14, where the state asked for a further postponement pending the outcome of his psychiatric evaluation. He was due back in court on September 29.
His mother told the Dispatch she last saw him on Thursday September 7 when she visited him in the correctional facility.
“We were alerted by the investigating officer a day later and when we went to the prison to go collect his body they told us that they had sent it to a private mortuary of their choice without informing us.
“At first it was hard retrieving his body from that mortuary but we managed to take him to a mortuary of my choice,” Maqabangqa said.
Gadu denied any wrongdoing, adding that all departmental processes were observed before removing the deceased’s body. — firstname.lastname@example.org