Ex-convict, Kessie Nair, who in a viral Facebook video used the “k” word in a racist rant against President Cyril Ramaphosa, will be evaluated by state psychiatrists to determine whether he has a mental illness or is fit to stand trial.

That ruling by magistrate Ncumisa Gcolotela yesterday (Tuesday) in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court ended speculation by Nair, a former councillor, that he is not afflicted with a mental illness. If the psychiatrists at Fort Napier Hospital in Pietermaritzburg conclude that Nair, who was jailed for six years at Westville Prison after he was convicted of defrauding desperate home seekers of R17 500, is indeed mentally unstable, his trial will be halted.

It will then be ironic that the court will have to declare him a “president’s patient”, which is anyone who is unfit mentally to stand trial.
On the other hand, if Nair who is facing six counts of crimen injuria and two counts of inciting public violence is found to be fit to stand trial, that trial will proceed some time in the new year. Owing to the long waiting list for beds to be available for patients at Fort Napier, he is likely to be evaluated until in the new year. His brother Krishnan Nair testified that Kessie has a mental illness.

The accused’s ex-wife filed an affidavit stating that he was mentally unwell. His family said he has not been well since he was released from prison after he served his sentence for fraud. The surgeon who examined Nair on the day of his arrest, said he showed no signs of mental illness but that he was delusional, and recommended that he be sent for observation.
Nair’s lawyer, Chris Gounden had argued that the accused was mentally sound.

Nair’s offensive and derogatory remarks in the video was widely condemned. The ANC and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation were among those who said he must face the full wrath of the law. Nair was arrested by the Hawks and was detained for several days at the police holding cell. He was transferred to Westville Prison.