Being pregnant or responsible for children might be considered a mitigating factor when it comes to sentencing, but it does not mean a woman will be let off for her crime.
Nonetheless, the fact that they are mothers does need to be taken into account.
According to a retired Western Cape magistrate, who spoke to Parent24 on condition of anonymity, prosecutors and magistrates do not receive training on sentencing pregnant women or mothers of young children.
They are expected to use their experience and are guided by case law, or in other words, the outcomes of previous cases. When deciding a case, magistrates consider the legal decisions made in similar cases in the past, and apply their discretion to decide the best sentence in the situation before the court.