Vlakfontein murders: Police yet to obtain death certificate of suspect who killed himself

2019-01-29 14:02
The house where the decomposed  bodies of seven family members were discovered in Vlakfontein. (News24)

The house where the decomposed bodies of seven family members were discovered in Vlakfontein. (News24)

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Gauteng police revealed in the Protea Magistrate's Court on Tuesday that they had not been able to obtain a death certificate of one of the suspects who committed suicide in holding cells at Cape Town Central Police Station earlier this month. 

"We were unable to obtain the death certificate because the family could not make it to Cape Town to identify the body of the deceased.

"I cannot clarify at the stage when the death certificate will be ready," Investigation Officer Banele Ndlovu told the court.

"He was moved from Krugersdorp Police Station on January 17, 2019 and travelled one-way, non-stop to Cape Town.

"He arrived on January 18, 2019 and died on the same day," Ndlovu explained.

ALSO READ: Vlakfontein murder, rape suspect kills himself

The defence lawyer told Ndlovu that Ernest Vusi Mabaso's family disputed police claims that they were informed of his death on the Friday.

"The family tells me that the SAPS did not come to the home to report their loved one’s death.

"The police have also failed to make arrangements for the family to identify the body," defence attorney William Sekgatja said. 

Ndlovu responded: "It is difficult to say who is responsible for that, but I am assuming that we must work hand in hand with the family."

ALSO READ: IPID probing Vlakfontein murder accused’s death in police custody  

Meanwhile, the bail application for Mabaso's surviving co-accused Fita Khupe, 61, continued in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

He is charged with seven counts of murder, after the bodies of four women and three children were discovered buried under sand in a house in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg, on October 29. The discovery was made after neighbours complained about a stench coming from the house. 

At the time of his death, Mabaso was also facing seven counts of murder and three of rape. 

Community leader Rebecca Moloi who oversaw a "no bail" petition, with over 2 000 signatures, issued a stern warning to the court while on the witness stand.

"If the court does not respect the community's wishes and deny the accused bail, then we will assure you he will not make it past South Africa’s borders alive," she said.

The magistrate didn't comment on the threat.

The court has taken a short adjournment.

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