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KZN mental health facility not accepting patients because of Covid-19

Fungai Nyamadzawo, accused of killing her child, will have to wait until the court receives a mental observation report from Fort Napier psychiatric hospital before her trial continues. She appeared in court on Tuesday.
Fungai Nyamadzawo, accused of killing her child, will have to wait until the court receives a mental observation report from Fort Napier psychiatric hospital before her trial continues. She appeared in court on Tuesday.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it a slew of delays for the judicial system, including the trial of a KwaZulu-Natal mother accused of murdering her six-year-old daughter.

Fungai Nyamadzawo, mother of slain Alexia, made a brief appearance in the KwaDukuza magistrate's court on Tuesday where her mental observation report from Fort Napier psychiatric hospital was expected to be submitted.

However, the court heard that Fort Napier was not accepting candidates for evaluation due to Covid-19.

Nyamadzawo's attorney, Rakesh Maharaj, told SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE that the director of public prosecution (DPP) in KwaZulu-Natal, Elaine Zungu, was engaging with management from Fort Napier.

“Hopefully we will have an answer by the time we are back in court next week. She (Nyamadzawo) will need to be admitted for  30 days at the hospital to undergo the evaluation.”

Maharaj said:” She hasn't been well recently and we had to seek medical intervention to help her. About two weeks ago she had to be booked out of detention to get medical help. She is suffering from an extreme form of depression,” he said.

Nyamadzawo was arrested after Alexia’s body was discovered in a sugar cane field in Riet Valley, outside Glendale, north of Durban, on June 2.

The 42-year-old mother is also charged with defeating the ends of justice after she allegedly told police that her daughter had been snatched from the back seat of her car while she was driving in the area with her two children.

In a previous appearance, magistrate Blanche van Eeden said medical records from two general practitioners and a psychologist showed “nothing wrong with her, no agitation or anything”.

However Maharaj argued that the reports had been compiled before his client was arrested — one as early as March this year — and that new assessments would need to be done.

Nyamadzawo is to remain in detention at the KwaDukuza police cells until September 2 when she is expected back in court to hear the outcome of the meetings between the state and Fort Napier management.

TimesLIVE


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