A Mpumalanga woman is facing charges of abuse and child neglect after she allegedly stuffed panties into a five- year-old's mouth.
The five-year-old girl's mouth was then allegedly sealed with tape. Now the woman and her husband are facing charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and violation of the Child Care Act.
Police said the woman, who was the child's foster mother, forced the child to walk around blindfolded with soiled panties stuffed into her mouth for five hours as punishment for soiling them.
The case was reported to the police by a neighbour who had witnessed the incident.
Inspector Dawie Pretorius said the woman was arrested last week and appeared in the Nelspruit magistrate's court.
The couple were not asked to plead and were released on R1000 bail each. They will appear in court again on June 2.
When police arrived at the scene, they found the child blindfolded, with her soiled panties stuffed into her mouth.
The toddler also appeared to have been badly beaten and had bruises all over her body.
It is understood the girl and her brother, 6, were taken away from their biological parents in Gauteng last year because they were also abusing them.
Both children have now been placed at a place of safety.
Mpumalanga department of social development spokesman Mpho Gabashane said the department would investigate the case thoroughly.
"We normally screen the foster parents thoroughly before we give them the responsibility of looking after children.
"And if cases of abuse are reported, a review may be necessary and the children may be taken away from the abusive parents," Gabashane said.