Court hears Chumani Nqakula murder accused is unfit to stand trail

Lawyers have argued that Carlos Higuera, accused of stabbing Chumani Nqakula, is mentally unstable.

Carlos Higuera in the dock at the Joburg Magistrates Court. His family says he is mentally unstable. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Almost exactly a year after the son of Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was killed, his alleged murderer has been deemed unfit to stand trial, by doctors at the Sterkfontein Hospital.

Carlos Higuera appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrates Court today, where a psychiatric report was handed over from the institution.

He's accused of stabbing Chumani Nqakula to death last October.

The 24-year-old has been in custody since last November, in a mental health section prison, separate from other inmates.

Last year, his legal team provided papers to try and prove that he has been suffering from a mental illness since 2010 prompting the magistrate to order that he be undergo observation.

His lawyer, Bornwise Tshabalala, says today the court heard how the Sterkfontein Hospital has observed that his client is mentally unstable and unfit to stand trial.

"The report came today from Sterkfontein confirming that our client is indeed not fit to stand trial."

Tshabalala says before the case is struck off the roll, they have to wait for both response and decision by the National Director of Public Prosecutions.

"It's not yet struck off the roll, we are still waiting for the final decision."

Higuera is back in the dock on 27 October 2016, where the National Director of Public Prosecution's decision will be known.