Man in court for children’s hanging

2010-11-23 00:00

AN Osizweni man, Mzwandile Mtshali, appeared in the high court in Ladysmith yesterday charged with hanging his baby son and six-year-old stepdaughter on April 21 last year.

The state alleges in its indictment that the murders followed “discord” in the relationship between the accused and the baby’s mother, Busisiwe Mntambo, which resulted in Mtshali demanding that her family repay his lobola.

The money was not paid, angering him further, it is alleged.

On the morning of April 21, ­Mtshali (29) allegedly fetched his biological son, 21-day-old Nkosikhona, from his wife’s parental home on a pretext.

He then allegedly proceeded to Iziko Primary School where Mntambo’s daughter from a previous relationship, Msikelelo Mntambo, was in grade one.

Mtshali allegedly removed her from school and took both children to the home of his father, Jabulane Mtshali, where he tied ropes to the rafter of the ceiling and hanged the two children.

According to the indictment, the baby was hanged first.

Appearing before Judge Ron McLaren yesterday, Mtshali pleaded not guilty to the murders.

His legal representative, Moses Zakwe, said that at this stage the accused will not give any explanation for his plea.

Mtshali sat impassively in the dock as an emotional Mntambo testified that she never saw their son alive again after Mtshali had fetched him from her on the morning in question, when he told her he wanted the child’s grandmother to see the baby.

“I told him that it is cold outside. He then instructed me to wrap the child in a blanket. Then he left with the child … I never saw the child again,” she said wiping away tears.

Later that day she received the news that both her children were dead.

Halfway through Mntambo’s testimony — while she was responding to a question by state advocate Sandesh Sankar concerning the lobola issue — ­Mtshali suddenly sprang up in the dock and walked out of court and back to the cells.

He was fetched by a police officer after which the court was adjourned to allow Mtshali’s lawyer to consult him.

Zakwe told the court later his client “could not say” why he had walked out of court.

He told the court that Mtshali was on medication for a mental condition. Because he is imprisoned in Johannesburg and had been brought to KwaZulu-Natal at the weekend, he had not taken his medication in the last two days.

The court adjourned to enable Mtshali to be examined at Madadeni hospital and to receive the medicine he required.

The case will continue today.

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