'Killer' mom will face trial this year
Her three-month-old baby, born in jail, has been put in the care of her sister
A NORTHERN Cape woman accused of murdering her five children will go on trial in September.
Venolia Siwa, who gave birth to her sixth child in February this year, appeared in the Pampierstad Magistrate's Court with a purple towel wrapped around her head on Friday.
Magistrate Jan Brits had to ask her to move it slightly to identify her.
Siwa is accused of killing her five children by forcing them to drink a cocktail of brake fluid and cool drink. She is then believed to have drowned them when she realised they were not dying quickly enough.
She allegedly went to a nearby river where she unsuccessfully tried to kill herself.
She faces five counts of murder.
Her children - Sizwe, 13, Lukanyo, 10, Edward, 5, Reatlegile, 4, and Matiki, 2 - were killed in October at their grandmother's house in Lower Majeakgoro village.
Brits set down the trial for September 3 to 7 in the high court, which will be sitting in Vryburg.
Brits said before the beginning of the trial, a pre-trial conference would be held at Mafikeng High Court on August 14.
Siwa was sent for a psychiatric evaluation in November for 30 days. The results will be revealed during the trial.
It is alleged Siwa fetched two of the children - Edward and Lukanyo - from Matlhare Moholo Primary School and took them home, where the other three were waiting.
Before she left home to fetch the children from school she asked her nephew to fill the bath tub.
She said she was going to do laundry when she came back.
She returned with the children and gave all five some of the concoction to drink.
She locked all the doors so that people could not see what was happening inside.
According to a report compiled by the West End Hospital in Kimberley, Siwa was unable to engage in a coherent conversation and was diagnosed with "acute psychosis".
Her lawyer, Nzame Skibi, earlier told the court Siwa was unable to follow court proceedings, so she couldn't make a proper defence.
"It is possible that she was in a similar condition at the time of the alleged offence and that she could not appreciate the wrongfulness of her action at the time."
Siwa's three-month-old baby, born in jail, has been put in the care of her sister.