Hope lived for Warona
Mark Warona Zinde’s grandmother believes her 23-year-old grandson was not in his right mind when he allegedly killed his mother, former journalist and television news anchor Hope Zinde. This is contained in an affidavit read out on Friday in the Brits Magistrates’ Court in North West by Zinde’s attorney, Mogorosi Molusi, where the accused made his second appearance.
The affidavit was presented on behalf of the deceased’s mother, Audrey Zinde, in support of an application made to court for her grandson to be sent for “psychiatric forensic observation” at a state institution.
She stated in the same document that her grandson could not, as a result (of his mental state), “appreciate what he was doing and what the consequences ... would be”.
Audrey said Hope had started a process to take Mark in for rehabilitation and mental care after he displayed certain behavioural patterns.
The court said he had “resisted” as a result of his “mental ill-health”.
Audrey stated that Mark had previously been to rehabilitation for drug use some time in 2013, adding that “the need for his rehabilitation gave the impression his use of drugs caused him serious personality and mental disorders”.
Worrying indications which, Audrey said, were observed by her deceased daughter, included Mark: Showing signs of being totally withdrawn; Not communicating at all; Displaying bizarre behaviour; Locking himself in his room all day; and Being aggressive as well as a danger to himself. Audrey said Hope’s helper told him he had refused her access to the house when she reported for duty on Wednesday.
The helper added in her affidavit that Mark had “aggressively grabbed her by the collar of her garment, pushed her to the door and ordered her to go away”.
This is what prompted Audrey and her other daughter, Fikile, to drive from Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, to Hope’s house at the up-market Pecanwood Golf Estate in Hartbeespoort last Saturday. This was also after they had been unable to reach Hope on her cellphone since Wednesday.
On their arrival at the main gate of the leafy estate, Audrey said that Mark had told security guards to deny them access. They later managed to enter after the police arrived.
North West police spokesperson Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said Mark opened the door when he saw the police, who went on to search the house.
The police came across a trail of blood leading from the bathroom to the garage, where they made the gruesome discovery of Hope’s body in the boot of her Range Rover.
“Police searched the suspect and found a small amount of the drug, crystal meth,” Mokgwabone testified. “He was taken in for questioning, and charged with murder and drug possession the following day, Sunday.”
At his hearing, Mark appeared disorientated, and Magistrate Lourens Mattiah allowed him to sit.
He turned his head for a quick glance at the public gallery, smiling briefly but looked weary. The only child of the deceased, he did not show any emotion as affidavits revealing details about his struggle with drugs were read out in court.
However, sitting behind him were a youthful man and woman struggling to contain their emotions.
The woman, who sobbed uncontrollably, told City Press that she went to high school with the accused and described him as a “wonderful person”. She refused to reveal her identity and the nature of her friendship with Mark. “We are all shocked. It can’t be the Mark we know who did this ... he was a social person, loved by everyone,” she said.
It was also heard in court that Mark did not speak to his two uncles or accept anything they brought him when they visited him at the Brits police station, where he was held.
His case was postponed for 30 days pending admission and an observation at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital.
Shortly after his court appearance, a memorial service was held in his mother’s honour in Pretoria, where the issue of drugs dominated the speeches made by the concerned mourners.
Hope’s friend, radio personality Criselda Kananda, urged communities to unite and fight the scourge of drugs. “Let this death be a lesson for us to hold hands and deal with this monster that is drugs. Today it is Warona [Mark’s Sotho name]. Whose child is next?”
Others spoke of how Hope loved and spoilt her son. “When Hope spoke of her son, everything came to a standstill,” said Minister of Small Business Development Lindiwe Zulu.
Hope’s neighbour at Pecanwood Estate, Velile Ramphele, said Hope “really stood out as an example of a good mother”.
He urged people not to abandon Mark, who was remanded in prison until his next appearance next month. “Let’s not judge him,” Ramphele pleaded.
TRAGEDY The mother of TV and radio personality Hope Zinde breaks down at her memorial service in Mamelodi