File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Pietermaritzburg - A Pietermaritzburg man accused of killing his grandmother and eating her flesh will remain in police custody after appearing in court on Tuesday.

The 41-year-old man, accused of killing Mrs Judith Ndlela (90), appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court a week after his arrest in KwaDambuza. 

He was caught eating his grandmother's flesh.

The case was postponed as the accused asked to be given time to get a lawyer.

Speaking outside the court, KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo said the department had been following the case after hearing of the incident.

He said the suspect was kept at a public hospital last week after being attacked by members of the community before his arrest. 

Dr Dhlomo said he asked doctors to take blood from the suspect to find out if he had not been using drugs as he had never heard of such behaviour before.

"We are glad that the suspect will be kept in custody until February 20 to apply for bail and that's only fair. His life is also at risk because the community is tired of crime, keeping him in police custody is the appropriate thing to do,” said Dhlomo.

Speaking to Isolezwe last week, granddaughter of the deceased, Thandeka Ndlela, said she was sleeping with her gran when the accused started banging on their bedroom door violently.  

She said the man was eventually able to break in, burning incense and uttering words she couldn’t make sense of. 

Later that day, while she was making breakfast, the woman heard her grandmother screaming after being stabbed by the suspect and ran for help from her neighbours. 

By the time she returned, the man had allegedly placed salt next to the deceased and was eating her flesh raw.

He is expected to return to the magistrate's court on February 20.