Cape Town - A court orderly, who allegedly accepted a R150 bribe to allow an awaiting trial prisoner to have sex with a prisoner's girlfriend, was sent for 30 days' psychiatric observation on Friday.
Warrant Officer Bongani Ndikho, 42, who is out on warning, was in charge of prisoners appearing in court, when the alleged incident happened in the holding cells at the Wynberg Regional Court in Cape Town in March last year.
He appeared before magistrate W Rixana, who at the request of prosecutor Simone Liedeman, ordered him to report at the Valkenberg psychiatric hospital for an assessment as an outpatient, and to be admitted as an in-patient as soon as a bed became available.
The prosecutor said she had a medical certificate as well as a psychiatric letter stating that Ndikho had severe depression, and was unable to focus on the proceedings.
He also had difficulty in interacting with people, poor memory, and concentration, she said.
As Ndikho stepped out of the dock, he complained to the court that he had been chased through the streets in Bellville after his previous appearance, by a media cameraman.
He lamented that he was unhappy about the media presence in court, and did not want his photograph in the newspapers.
Ndikho added: “This is a corruption case, and the media presence affects me and my ailing mother.”
He said the photographer had chased him for about 500m, and “they abuse their right”.
Ndikho asked the court for help, and said he did not want to be chased through the streets.
The magistrate said the media had to bring a formal application if they wished to take photographs, or TV footage, in the courtroom.
However, the court had no control over what happened outside, the magistrate explained.
He said the court could not make an order that it could not enforce.
He said Ndikho had the right to privacy, and he needed to discuss the problem with his lawyer, Chantelle Morgan, who could launch a civil suit on his behalf, for damages against the newspaper that published his photograph without his permission.
With Ndikho in the dock was prisoner John Maggot, who allegedly gave Ndikho the R150 bribe.
Ndikho faces two counts of corruption. One relates to the alleged R150 bribe for sex, and the other alleges that he received additional bribes totalling R12,000 to smuggle dagga parcels to Maggot.
Maggot similarly faces two counts of corruption.
Both also face one charge each of dealing in drugs.
The charge sheet tells of a number of cellphone sms messages, allegedly arranging for dagga in parcels to be given to Ndikho, to smuggle to Maggot in the court holding cells, and for the alleged payment of bribes.
In one sms, Ndikho is alleged to have said if the bribe was “not a block (R1000), don't bother coming”.
The prosecutor alleges that Ndikho deposited R12,000 into his bank account on March 27 last year.
The case was postponed to August 18, for the psychiatric assessment.