The Pietermaritzburg Magistrates’ Court has deemed Nathan Rampersad fit to stand trial yesterday.
This decision comes after Rampersad’s attorney, Bonisiwe Gasa, requested he receive a mental health evaluation by a district surgeon to decide if he should be admitted to Fort Napier Hospital for observation, Pietermaritzburg Public Eye reports.
Last month, Rampersad allegedly set his 17-year-old girlfriend, Nana Gwala, on fire for not cleaning his room. The devastating blaze spread from the couple’s room to the rest of the communal two-storey building on Lahore Road, leaving 11 families destitute.
Despite the court’s decision, Rampersad’s father, Imraan Mahomed, is insistent his son has mental health issues.
“He has been collecting a mental disability grant from a young age, and we are aware of it. We understand that this is their decision, and they are doing what they have to,” said Mahomed.
Mother Zarina Mahomed recalled the relationship Rampersad, and Gwala shared in a bid to show that her son cared for his 17-year-old girlfriend.
“He gave her a home and took her off the street. I pray for her every day. I pray she gets well. We have met her previously, and we liked her. We are really sorry for what has happened to the families of the flat,” she said.
Rampersad is still in custody, and is being charged with arson and attempted murder. State prosecutor Rene Padayachee told the Public Eye that a formal bail application was set for May 28.
Gwala is still recovering in Edendale Hospital.