Ipid to probe death in custody of Vlakfontein Seven murder accused
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) will investigate the death of Ernest Mabaso, the prime suspect in the Vlakfontein murders.
Police spokesperson Capt Kay Makhubele on Thursday confirmed that Mabaso had died while in custody at Cape Town Central police station.
"The police had booked him out of the Krugersdorp prison in Gauteng and he was taken to Cape Town Central on January 17," Makhubele said.
"When the police arrived in Cape Town with him the next day, they booked him into Cape Town Central. They left him in a cell and they later got a call saying he had died," said Makhubele.
The police had opened an inquest docket.
"The matter will be handled by Ipid," Makhubele said.
Mabaso was due to appear in the Protea magistrate’s court on Thursday on murder and rape charges alongside his co-accused Fita Khupe.
His lawyer Makau Sekgatji said the case was postponed to January 29 for the court to be given Mabaso’s death certificate.
“We are waiting for the state to provide his death certificate for us to confirm that he is indeed dead,” Sekgatji said.
Mabaso faced seven counts of murder after he and Khupe allegedly killed three women and four children of the Khoza family in October.
He also faced charges of theft after bank cards that belonged to the deceased were found in their possession.
In addition, Mabaso faced three counts of rape after he allegedly raped the three women, claiming it was under the instruction of Khupe.
In an affidavit previously filed in court, Mabaso acknowledged raping three of the Khoza family members, but stated that he intended to plead not guilty to all the charges. He claimed that he was forced into committing the crimes by Khupe and his associates.
Khupe faces murder and theft charges.
In October 2018‚ a stench at the house in Vlakfontein led the police to a gruesome discovery. They found the bodies of seven people — three women and four children — buried under a pile of sand in a bedroom in the house. The children were aged between two and 11.