Mark Zinde, who is accused of murdering his mother, former SABC board member Hope Zinde, has been referred for a further period of mental observation.
There was no sign of Zinde’s previous outburst when he swore and showed a middle finger to the court last week before being led down to the court cells, and this time he appeared subdued.
Judge Papi Mosopa referred Zinde for further mental observation to determine if he suffered from any mental illness, could follow and contribute to court proceedings, and if he had been able to distinguish between right and wrong and act accordingly at the time of the offence.
Prosecutor Andre Wilsenach supported the application, which was brought by his aunt, Desiree Zinde, saying the question of whether Zinde could currently understand and fully participate in legal proceedings was a worrying feature of the case.
The trial was provisionally postponed to August 29.
Zinde’s aunt described in an affidavit how her nephew, who had been a head boy at school, became totally withdrawn, locked himself in his room, refused to eat and stopped functioning some time around 2012.
They only found out after her sister’s death that Mark had been diagnosed with depression with psychotic features, for which he had been hospitalised in 2014, that her sister was afraid of him and that a psychiatrist had recommended involuntary admission to a mental institution after he stopped using his medication.
Her sister, who herself suffered from severe depression, had repeatedly asked Mark’s father, a medical doctor, for help about her son’s behaviour, but he failed to act.
She described his behaviour as increasingly irrational, bizarre and at times aggressive and scary. Wanders reported to the family he did not talk to anyone, refused to change clothes, which had lice, and slept under his bed.
“Every single visit left us emotionally drained, as communication with him became close to impossible. He would be extremely quiet for the most part. He always carried a plastic bag full of empty plastic bottles with him. Everything about his behaviour was and still is abnormal.
“… Every bit of information gathered … contribute to my inference that [he] is not well, is in a deep depression and needs urgent help,” she said.
A private psychiatrist appointed by the family said in a report he believed the accused suffered from schizophrenia with predominantly negative features, and could now have developed some features of Catalonia.
Zinde is accused of murdering his mother at their house in Pecanwood estate near Brits in June last year and of attempting to murder his father, Dr Lebohang Manote, and assaulting his wife in November last year while he was out on bail.