'KING OF bling is not suicidal'

ALLEGED crime mastermind William "Mashobane" Mbatha is planing to sue the Correctional Services Department after media reports that he planned to commit suicide.

ALLEGED crime mastermind William "Mashobane" Mbatha is planing to sue the Correctional Services Department after media reports that he planned to commit suicide.

"What was said in the report is far from the truth. We are in touch with William and we know what he is up to. He speaks to us at all times," Hlaki Mothabela, a friend who also speaks for the family, said.

"The family has approached their legal representative and a notice will be out," he said.

Sunday Sun reported this weekend that Mbatha, who is in Boksburg Prison in connection with a cocktail of charges, is on a suicide watch after prison warders found evidence that he was planning to kill himself.

The paper quoted prison warders who said they discovered three long belts and a stash of pills under his mattress during a routine search.

"Mbatha probably planned to put the belts together and hang himself from the window at night," a source told the Sunday tabloid.

But Mbatha's family reacted angrily yesterday.

"What this official said hurt his family and friends. We were all shocked and are still traumatised after waking up to news that he was planning to take his own life.

"I spoke to him and he did not look suicidal. Why would he want to kill himself when he is confident that he will be home before Christmas," Mothabela said.

Mbatha's lawyer, Jack Gerber, confirmed the looming litigation.

"We spoke to him this morning and he is not suicidal. Why would he commit suicide when he knows that we will be able to prove that he was not involved in any of these cases.

"At this stage we are keeping our options open and if the information they presented is not correct we will take action. We can't exclude the possibility of a lawsuit," Gerber said.

Correctional Services spokesperson Simphiwe Kondleka said no such items were found in Mbatha's cell.

"We distance ourselves from comments made by these faceless officials because we were never contacted for comment."

The Atteridgeville, Pretoria, socialite has been in jail for almost three months after being arrested in connection with a string of robberies and hijacking of cars.

Before his latest arrest, he was on R50000 and R15000 bail fixed by the Germiston magistrate's court and the Pretoria high court.

Mbatha's latest bail hearing is scheduled to continue next week.

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