Father of Vlakfontein murder accused disputes suicide allegations

Vlakfontein killings murder accused Ernest Mabaso allegedly committed suicide using a shoelace in a holding cell in Cape Town.
Vlakfontein killings murder accused Ernest Mabaso allegedly committed suicide using a shoelace in a holding cell in Cape Town.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The father of the dead Vlakfontein killings murder accused has insisted that his son did not hang himself.

Joseph Mabaso suspects foul play after seeing the body of 27-year-old Ernest who allegedly committed suicide by hanging himself with a shoelace in Cape Town on January 18. He was buried on Saturday after his body was finally returned to his family in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga.

Ernest was accused of murder for his part in the killing of seven family members in Vlakfontein, south of Johannesburg, last year. An emotional Joseph detailed the injuries his son sustained after his body was returned to the family on Thursday.

"I don't understand how they can say he killed himself when he clearly had injuries on him. He had injuries on his head and torso, he looked like he was beaten up but they say he hanged himself," Joseph said.

This is despite the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) reporting that the injuries were consistent with suicide.

Moses Dlamini, the spokesperson for Ipid, said they would be investigating how Ernest had access to shoelaces in a holding cell.

"Investigators [from Ipid] also attended the post-mortem and the pathologist said the findings from the body suggested the cause of death to be hanging. This is also based on the scene and further assessment of the body," he said.

Mabaso had injuries on his body
Sources

But Joseph thought otherwise. "I know what they are saying, but my son would not have killed himself."

Joseph said he had not spoken to his son since his arrest in October. He last saw him a few months earlier.

Sowetan reliably learnt from a source privy to the investigation that Mabaso had injuries on his body, possibly suffered before or during his hanging.

It is understood his booking into a cell was properly done after he was searched and stripped of items he could have used to harm himself.

Fita Khupe, Mabaso's co-accused, was denied bail in the Protea magistrate's court two weeks ago. The matter was postponed to April 2.

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