Faced with the possibility of spending life in jail for the murder of her five-year-old daughter, Deliwe Majaja begged the court for mercy yesterday.
"I feel the pain of losing my child. I ask the court to give me a second chance. I felt bad when she died. She was my only child," Majaja told the Johannesburg high court.
Majaja, 24, of Vosloorus, was giving evidence in mitigation of sentence.
She and her boyfriend, Chester Makhale, 27, had been found guilty of murder.
For more than a year they subjected Lihle to beatings, starvation, cold baths and being tied to a chair.
She died a slow painful death in the middle of the night on May 15 this year.
The court found that Majaja and Makhale took turns assaulting the child whenever she cried for food.
She said she now realises that her "worst mistake" was to cohabit with Makhale.
"I loved Makhale so much that I entrusted my child's life and mine in his hands. I thought we could live happily as a family," she said.
Majaja said she assaulted her own child out of fear of her boyfriend.
"Makhale forced me to assault my child. He used to say the child was spoilt when she cried for food and that I should beat her. He also used to say that the child was contemptuous."
Majaja who told the court she was a Christian, said she only assaulted the child twice.
She said it was Makhale and his cousin, Ofhani, who had taken turns beating the child daily.
She admitted the child was served soft porridge in the mornings only.
"But she had a full meal in December," she said.
Majaja said she could not protect her child because she was also subjected to abuse.
She said Makhale used to assault her because he accused her of having affairs.
"There was no chance to run away. Whenever Chester was not present, Ofhani would be guarding me."
The trial continues today.