Jealousy blamed for fight that killed baby

2008-01-15 00:00

A domestic dispute that allegedly led to the death of a five-month-old baby was sparked by jealousy and insecurity.

In an interview with the mother of the baby girl that died at the weekend after her live-in partner assaulted her, Malulang Modise (33) said her boyfriend became jealous when she spoke to another man in a language he did not understand.

It emerged that the man was not the biological father of the baby.

“It was because I spoke to another man in Sotho and he did not understand what we said,” said Modise. Modise is originally from Matatiele and her mother tongue is Sotho. Her live-in partner speaks Zulu.

The man accused of the murder, Samuel Mahlaba (28), appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday. He will appear again on January 21, and has been remanded in police custody.

The couple met less than five moths ago when Modise was pregnant and they moved in together at Machibisa in December. Modise said she had previously noticed signs of insecurity from her partner when her male cousin visited her. “He wanted to fight with him [the cousin] because he could not understand what we were saying. I had to explain to him that he was my cousin.” On Saturday, she explained again to Mahlaba that she knew the man she was speaking to from Matatiele.

It is believed that the baby was on her back and may have suffered injuries during the fight.

But she only discovered the extent of the baby’s alleged injuries the following morning.

“I woke up on Sunday morning and tried to feed the baby but she was cold,” she said. When she checked the baby, she noticed that her nose was bleeding. She told The Witness that another woman took the baby from Modise’s back during the brief fight.

She returned the baby after the fight. “I fed the baby before we went to sleep and she was fine”.

The baby became the second victim of domestic violence this year in Pietermaritzburg. A boy (10) recently died in a domestic violence incident after he tried to intervene when his father shot his mother.

sandilez@witness.co.za

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