Grandson accused of beheading gran not fit for trial

Women protest against the man who allegedly kicked his grandmother’s head around like a soccer ball. | Supplied

Women protest against the man who allegedly kicked his grandmother’s head around like a soccer ball. | Supplied

Published Jun 12, 2024


Durban — The man accused of cutting off his grandmother’s head allegedly cannot remember the incident and is mentally unfit to stand trial.

This was according to a report by Dr Sheroshnee Govender at RK Khan Hospital.

Thabo Ntokozo Nzimande, 31, is alleged to have decapitated Beatrice DeLange and kicked her head up and down with his feet like a soccer ball on Friday at their Pinetown home.

On Monday, Nzimande made his first appearance in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court, where the case was postponed to later this month for further investigation.

Govender diagnosed Nzimande as having bipolar mood disorder as well as substance-induced psychotic disorder. She noted that Nzimande had two head injuries as a child, as well as a history of substance abuse which included cocaine, crack, alcohol and cannabis.

“He is unable to give an account of himself. He cannot remember the incident at all and has a history of substance abuse … He admits to auditory hallucinations, his brother is a known psychiatric patient on treatment. He has impaired judgment and poor insight. The patient is currently unfit to stand trial,” read the report.

On Monday, the Daily News reached out to a family member, John Ngcobo, who confirmed the murder as well as Nzimande’s arrest however he declined to comment any further.

“Everyone who is affected by this is grieving and I would not want to comment at this stage, you can report on court proceedings,” he said.

Reacting to the murder, the Department of Social Development (DSD) in KwaZulu-Natal said as a society, mental health issues needed to be addressed more effectively.

The department’s spokesperson, Mhlaba Memela, said substance abuse seemed to be destroying the youth and needed to be dealt with.

“The dismemberment and desecration of a grandmother by her grandson, including the grotesque act of playing with her head, indicate a profound mental disturbance. However, this cannot excuse the barbarity of the crime.

“We cannot rule out substance abuse at such a level of cruelty. As the DSD and the government, we are deeply horrified and saddened by the brutal murder of an elderly lady by her grandson.

“This tragic incident is not just a personal family tragedy but a stark reflection of a broader societal issue where the lives of older people are increasingly disregarded, even by the very youth who are supposed to protect and cherish them,” he said.

Memela called on society to come together to put an end to such atrocities.

“Let us create a community where older people are valued, protected and respected. Let us work collectively to ensure that our youth grow up with a sense of responsibility and compassion towards the elderly, preventing such horrific incidents from ever occurring again.

“We sent our heartfelt condolences to the family and neighbours of the deceased. The team of social workers will help the family with psycho-social support during this.”

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