- The criminal case against parents accused of murdering their four-month-old baby is expected to be transferred to the High Court in the North West.
- It is alleged that the baby died from complications following malnutrition.
- It is further alleged that the mother assaulted two of her other minor children.
The criminal case against a North West couple accused of murdering their four-month-old baby and severally assaulting two of their other minor children is expected to move to the High Court for trial.
The accused, who cannot be named to protect the victims' identity, appeared in the Klerksdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday, where they face charges of murder and contravening the Children's Act.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the case was postponed to have the case transferred to the North West High Court, where a trial date will be set.
NPA spokesperson Henry Mamothame said the State was expected to serve the accused with an indictment and a bail court date will be decided following that process.
The parents, aged 44 and 35, from Alabama near Klerksdorp, were arrested by police between September and October 2021 after investigations into the alleged assault of one of their children led to the discovery of the death of a four-month-old baby.
In May 2021, the 35-year-old mother was arrested for allegedly assaulting her two-year-old son, but was released because she was breastfeeding at the time.
The incident was reported to the North West Department of Social Development which led to their four minor children being placed under the care of their maternal grandmother. The baby remained in the care of the accused.
In September 2021, the mother was arrested again for allegedly assaulting her 13-year-old daughter.
"She allegedly hit her with clenched fists, kicked her before throwing her on the ground and stomping [on] her afterwards. She went on to assault her mother," Mamothame said.
"Police investigations into this assault led them to a discovery of the four-month-old baby having died on 13 August 2021 in Klerksdorp hospital."
The mother's uncle allegedly revealed the information.
"These investigations further discovered that in June 2021, [the mother allegedly] forcefully took back her two sons from her mother to stay with her and [the father]. The uncle alleges to have reported this incident to the designated social worker, who in turn promised to do house visits to the accused."
According to a report by a social worker, on 9 August, when he visited the house, he found the two-year-old boy in a bad state of health with sores all over his face.
"He then went back the following day, and to his shock, the couple had left the four-month-old baby by herself, lying on the bed without a blanket.
"The report further states the baby looked emaciated. The social worker then rushed to collect his wife to assist him with the baby before taking her home with them."
The social worker took the baby to hospital, but she died three days later.
Mamothame said the attending paediatrician confirmed that the baby died of complications of malnutrition.
The accused are expected back in court on 11 March.
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