In court . . . Joseph Ntshongwana playing for the Bulls in 2000.

Joseph Ntshongwana playing for the Bulls in 2000. Photo: Getty Images

JOHANNESBURG: A South African court ruled on Friday that former Currie Cup rugby player Phindile Joseph Ntshongwana is fit to stand trial on charges of murdering three people with an axe last year.

"The court finds the accused is fit to stand trial," Durban high court judge Kate Pillay said, according to the Sapa news agency.

Ntshongwana, who played for Blue Bulls in the Vodacom and Currie Cups, was arrested in March 2011, accused of going on an axe rampage in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Media reports said he accused his three victims of gang-raping his daughter and exposing her to HIV, but police later said no such rape had ever occurred.

At his initial court appearance, Ntshongwana shoved police officers and spoke in tongues.

Ntshongwana's father told the court his son was bipolar.

In January, psychiatrist Soobian Moodley testified that Ntshongwana had not shown signs of instability during medical assessments, Sapa reported.

"Clearly, the alleged crimes were premeditated and deliberate and from my observation he could go on for a long time without relapse," he said.

Ntshongwana played for Blue Bulls from 1998 to 2001, earning nine caps in the Vodacom Cup and two in the Currie Cup.

AFP