Kessie Nair, the man accused of calling President Cyril Ramaphosa the k-word in a video clip faces charges of crimen injuria and incitement of public violence. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA

Durban - The man who called President Cyril Ramaphosa the k-word has maintained he did so fully aware of his actions and not because of any mental breakdown, despite his family saying otherwise.
Kessie Nair’s brother, Krishnan, who was called to testify in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Monday, claimed that Nair became mentally unstable while incarcerated at Westville Prison for fraud.

He said that on Nair’s release, the family was told by a senior prison warden that he had a mental illness and the family soon noticed changes in his behaviour.

He also said the family were not coerced into claiming Nair was mentally unstable in an attempt to escape criminal charges.

The court heard that the brothers had a strained relationship, with the last interaction between the two occurring two days before Nair posted his racist video. Krishnan said he contacted Nair to ask him to stop tagging him in his social media posts.

Nair’s other brother, Ravi, and Nair’s ex-wife, Vasanthi, have submitted statements to the court claiming Nair was not of sound mind.

State advocate Carlson Govender asked the court to order that Nair undergo a 28-day evaluation at Fort Napier Hospital.

However, Nair’s lawyer, Chris Govender, said his client has been remanded in custody “for far too long already”.

“Mr Nair does not have to be booked in for evaluation. He can go for an assessment as an out-patient,” Govender said.

He said that the next available bed at Fort Napier was in April next year, and questioned whether the court would keep him in custody for that long until he was evaluated.

He said the damage that could be done to Nair in that time could be “irreversible” and asked the court to decide on his bail as soon as possible.

Govender also said Nair was not a flight risk as he was in line for a heart transplant and needed to stay in the province as he could be called at any time for the surgery.

The case continues on Tuesday.

The Mercury