'Lazarus' sent for mental observation
Mlondi Radebe, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - The man who claimed to be the award-winning maskandi artist Khulekani “Mgqumeni” Khumalo is to be sent for further mental observation.
Sphamandla Sibusiso John Gcabashe, 29, appeared in court in Nquthu on Tuesday. Curious members of the public were allowed in to see the proceedings unfold.
Scores had travelled from all over the country previously to see him when he greeted the crowds in Esigqumeni on February 5, saying he had come back to life.
Mgqumeni’s uncle, Dalincebo Khumalo, brought in clean clothing for Gcabashe before the court proceedings started. He asked police to accompany him to the cells.
Gcabashe is charged with fraud and perjury. He appeared in a courtroom packed with family, friends and community members who wanted to find out more about the case and see him in the dock.
State prosecutor Sam Mpongose handed in a psychiatric report compiled by Madadeni Hospital physician ND Magubane.
The physician said Gcabashe had a history of seeing tokoloshes and animals that other people did not see, dating back to when he was 18. He had never been treated by Western doctors, but had consulted a traditional healer.
He said Gcabashe’s mother had a “mental illness” and that he did not have a history of substance abuse.
“He is currently apsychotic and can appreciate the wrongfulness and consequences of claiming he is Mgqumeni when he is not.”
Magubane said Gcabashe was “fit to stand trial at present, but in view of his post-psychotic history, I cannot say whether he was psychotic or not at the time of [the] commission of [the] crime.”
He might need to be transferred to Fort Napier Hospital for 28 days’ observation to clarify this, said Magubane in the report.
Gcabashe’s legal aid attorney, Senzo Mhlongo, said his client would not apply for bail until he had been to hospital and they had the report.
The prosecutor told the court it could take up to six months to secure a bed at Fort Napier hospital, “but I shall have to ask the director of public prosecutions because of the nature of the offence”.
Magistrate Mphumeleli Nkosi remanded Gcabashe in custody until March 6.
The Khumalos said they believed that Gcabashe was Mgqumeni because different traditional healers had told them Mgqumeni was still alive.
Sceptics had questioned why Gcabashe has a gold tooth when Mgqumeni did not have one.
Gcabashe’s cousin, Khulisile Majola, said they had noticed this when he appeared in the media.
“We think he put a gold tooth in the gap in his teeth as he was assaulted by his schoolmate … and his tooth broke when he was doing Grade 3.”