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The State informed the court that the man had confessed, and he was being sent for psychiatric observation.
In response, the accused said: “I’m okay, I suffer from no mental illness. May I plead guilty now?” he asked.
He was not allowed to enter a plea. The case was postponed to January 21 to give him time to apply for legal aid.
The man was dressed in a blue jeans, a grey jersey, and black-and-red sneakers.
Two of the accused’s cousins, Malape Sehloho and Buti Motlou, were called from the court gallery. They vouched for him, saying he had no history of mental illness.
“He has no mental problems,” they said.
The 25-year-old accused allegedly killed his 60-year-old grandmother and two other female relatives on Sunday.
“The 26 and 28-year-old women relatives died on the scene, while the grandmother died on the way to hospital,” said Captain Disebo Selepe.
Two male cousins, aged 17 and 18, were injured and were taken to a nearby hospital in a critical condition. The man also attacked a six-year-old relative, but she was not hurt, Selepe said.
Scores of Orange Farm residents packed the court on Tuesday. Speaking outside the court, Fana Motlou, another cousin of the accused, said the family was shocked by the killings and searching for answers.
“We don’t know how to put it all together,” he said.
Motlou said the local councillors were helping the family with the funeral arrangements. The details had yet to be finalised.
“It will be a mass funeral for them,” he said.
Asked whether the family would be willing to forgive the killer, Motlou said: “At the present moment, we can’t be preaching forgiveness.”
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