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Magistrate worries about health of January Murder accused

A magistrate has expressed concern about the health of an awaiting trial prisoner who seemed feverish when he appeared in connection with one of Mpumalanga’s infamous “January Murders”.
Tupac ‘Abu” Ntumba, 25, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was appearing in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court on Wednesday in connection with the murder of culture, sports and recreation spokesman Sammy Mpatlanyane.
Magistrate Heinrich Moldenhauer asked the shivering Ntumba if he needed medical attention.
Ntumba said he did.
State prosecutor Advocate Isabet Erwee told the court that inmates do get medical attention, but Moldenhauer pointed out that only convicted and sentenced inmates received medical attention, not those awaiting trial.
“To be honest, medical attention is given and prioritised for inmates who have been sentenced, not the ones awaiting trial,” said Moldenhauer.
The magistrate then ordered police to send Ntumba to a doctor.
“He needs to be taken for a medical check-up,” he said.
Ntumba was not asked to plead to charges of murder, possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition and conspiracy to commit murder.
On Wednesday, while the magistrate was reading out the charges, Ntumba, who speaks very little English, blurted out that he knew nothing about the case.
“I don’t know anything about house breaking and murder,” he shouted.
Ntumba was also not asked to plead to two separate cases of drug dealing and possession of explosives.
The case was postponed to August 4 when an interpreter would be made available to assist Ntumba.
Ntumba was arrested in Pienaar outside Mbombela on July 3.
He was shot in the legs during his arrest by members of the police’s Tactical Response Team.
At the time two warrants of arrest were out for him after he skipped bail.
Meanwhile, the two other suspects arrested for Mpatlanyane’s murder are Mozambican national Nito Mashava, 28, and Tanzanian national Omary Issa, 29.
Both have been denied bail and are in custody.
Mashava was arrested on April 6 in Mbombela while Issa, a street vendor who sold sweets and manned a public phone, was arrested at his business stand in the Mbombela city centre.
Their case has been postponed to September 1 for a high court trial date to be set.
Mpatlanyane was gunned down on January 10, 2010 at his home in Mbombela. At the time, his murder was linked to alleged cover-ups of tender fraud in the Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation, after his signature was allegedly forged when he was out of the country.

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