When relatives of 25-year-old South African woman Zinhle Maditla went to her house in December last year to collect Christmas presents she had reportedly left for them, they didn’t know they were going find the half-decomposed bodies of her four children.
According to The Citizen, Maditla gave her four children, Minenhle, 8; Blessing, 6; Shanique, 4; and 11-month-old Ettiene rat poison to consume. She subsequently surrendered to the police that same month after her relatives discovered the bodies.
During a bail hearing in June, Maditla’s lawyer, Mphile Ndzondo, told the court that she was devastated by the death of the children.
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“We cannot change the fact that the applicant has always been hurt by the loss of her children.”
Ndzondo prayed the court to grant Maditla bail so she could prepare better for the trial, playing down the investigating officer’s claim that she could commit suicide if she was granted bail.
“She has a chronic condition but continued to take her medication in police custody. She would have stopped taking her medication if she wanted to end her own life. This is an indication that she is prepared to stand trial,” Ndzondo said.
The state prosecutor, Johan Harmse, however, argued that Maditla hid evidence by failing to report the incident, The Citizen further reports.
“The accused often went into the room to change clothes without reporting the matter to the police. When neighbours asked the accused about the bad smell that came from the room, she said she kept rotten meat in that room,” Harmse said.
Reading her plea statement after she was found guilty of four counts of murder, Ndzondo said Maditla poisoned her children after she caught the father of two of her kids cheating on her, according to eNCA. She also claimed that she consumed some of the poison.
“I went back home, I sat in the taxi emotional and crying I saw a hawker selling rat poison I took R10 and bought poison with the intention to kill myself and my children,” the statement said.
She also pleaded with the court for mercy, eNCA further reports.
“I admit I have no defence in law for my conduct on that day. I request the court for mercy.”
With the mitigation of the sentence adjourned to Tuesday, Ndzondo told the court she will testify as the only witness. The state will, however, call three witnesses.