Government welcomes sentencing of parents for daughter's tortue and murder

2019-04-30 11:42

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Government welcomed the heavy sentences the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria handed down to parents who had tortured and killed their toddler. 

Welmarie Smith and her former husband, Willem Smith, were found guilty of severely torturing their 3-year-old child over a long period of time.

The toddler Nicole Smith eventually died after receiving a blow to her head from her mother.

Welmarie Smith was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. She was also sentenced to an additional 25-year imprisonment for assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm.

Willem Smith received a 25-year jail sentence for assaulting the child. He was not at their then Springs flat on the day Nicole died.

Zero tolerance

Acting Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) CEO Phumla Williams said government was pleased that the judicial system has demonstrated once again that child abusers will face the might of the law.

"It is with great sadness that little Nicole had to endure such heinous crimes against her by her own parents. We are appealing to adults to refrain from causing harm to children. We can and must do more to protect the lives of children.

ALSO READ: More info needed for trial of couple accused of child abuse, attempted murder

"Government has adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards child abuse and calls on all South Africans and sectors to partner with government in creating a safer and healthier environment for our children to thrive and together take South Africa forward," she said.

Williams added that through various pieces of legislation and policies, government is committed to ensuring the safety of children. However, it is also vital that parents and society be cognisant of the roles that they need to play in protecting children and in exposing any suspected child abuse activities or child exploitation.

Principles

"Key among these is the Children’s Act which gives effect to rights of children as contained in the Constitution. It sets out principles relating to the care and protection of children. It also defines parental responsibilities and rights. 

"It is important that all people familiarise themselves with the [Children's] Act, and treat and protect all children from all forms of harm and danger. It is time for society to stand up for our children and protect them by immediately reporting abuse, neglect and exploitation of children. Individuals should not be afraid of victimisation, [and] therefore stay quiet, as there are a number of ways to report such child crimes anonymously," she said.

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Read more on:    pretoria  |  child abuse  |  courts
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