Mom: why I killed my children

2009-12-11 00:00

ZANELE Mngadi (24) of Sweetwaters pleaded guilty in the high court yesterday to “chopping” her two children, Nontobeko (5) and Xolani (3), to death with an axe in October and said she wishes she could undo her deed.

Mngadi claimed she was deeply depressed at the time and felt guilty that she was not able to protect her daughter, Nontobeko, from being hurt by her boyfriend whom she saw raping the little girl.

He threatened to kill her family and cut her throat if she reported him to the police, she said.

“I did not see the point of me or my children living anymore. I picked up the axe in the children’s bedroom and I chopped them while they were sleeping,” she said.

Mngadi said she tried in various ways to commit suicide, but did not succeed.

“I am deeply remorseful for my actions and beg the court’s mercy when imposing the sentence. I have accepted my guilt from the outset and I wish that I could undo what I have done. I am still tormented by my actions,” she said in a statement read out to Judge President Vuka Tshabalala by her attorney, Zina Anastasiou.

The case was postponed until March 8 next year for Anastasiou to make arrangements for a probation officer’s report to enable the court to consider all the available sentencing options for Mngadi.

The slightly-built Mngadi cut a diminutive figure in the accused’s dock. Dressed in black under a denim jacket and wearing her hair neatly braided, she remained composed.

Judge Tshabalala said that because of the seriousness of the crimes and the reasons given by Mngadi for the murders, it is important to have a probation officer’s report to assist the court to decide on a proper sentence in the matter.

The murders occurred on October 27 at Mbutshane in Sweetwaters.

Mngadi said that a few days earlier, she saw her boyfriend, Bheko Mthalane, rape her five-year-old daughter, Nontobeko.

“I was horrified and I screamed and Bheko attacked me in order to quieten me. He threatened me that if I reported this matter to the SA Police Services he would kill my family and cut my throat. I believed Bheko because I knew him as a dangerous person. I was very scared and I felt helpless,” she said.

Mngadi said she was pressured by her family to report the rape and as a result her boyfriend was arrested.

“I feared that when he came out of prison he would do as he said and kill me and my family. I felt depressed and guilty for not being able to protect Nontobeko from being hurt by my boyfriend.”

On the day in question she said she felt so depressed that she tried to commit suicide by taking numerous tablets, and drinking paraffin and Jik, but did not succeed.

She then picked up the axe and killed the children while they were sleeping.

“After this I tried to cut my throat with a small knife and when this didn’t work I tried to hang myself, but the rope broke. I was going to drown myself, but my brothers found me before I reached the river and they took me home. I was arrested thereafter,” she said.

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