Mystery muti not illegal

Pertunia Ratsatsi

Pertunia Ratsatsi

Zaphanias Mathe, the father of C-Max Prison's most famous escapee, is relaxing back at home in Mozambique.

Mathe, 80, was freed last week after a Pretoria magistrate found that the substance he tried to smuggle into prison for his son Annanias Mathe, contained nothing illegal.

He was arrested on May 24 when prison officials found him in possession of what they believed was an illegal substance, and that he was trying it to pass to his son.

The liquid was inside a small bottle stuffed in a loaf of bread and the discovery was made by prison officials during visiting hours.

Mathe pleaded with Magistrate Peet van Vuuren that he should be allowed to go home because he was suffering in prison and wanted to see his children in Mozambique.

Van Vuuren sent him back to jail, but instructed the prosecutor and defence to work out a deal for his release.

On July 24, five days after he pleaded, he was released.

All charges against him were dropped after toxicology reports revealed that the substance he tried to smuggle to his son was not illegal.

Mathe's legal representative Liz de Oliveira Serrao said: "We contributed money so the old man could go home because we felt sorry for him. His travel permit has been renewed and he can now come in and out of South Africa as he pleases."

De Oliveira Serrao said a "lot of noise" had been made about Mathe (the father).

The old man appeared frail and always wore an over-sized, worn-out green jacket during the court proceedings.

Mathe junior is in prison for rape, murder, attempted murder, theft and armed robbery. He also faces charges of escaping from lawful custody.