Court expected to pass sentence

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

For days in the witness box, Ofhani Walter Makhale gave graphic details about how Lihle, 5, was tortured to death.

Chester Makhale, 28, of Thembisa, and his girlfriend Deliwe Majaja, 24, of Vosloorus, are expected to be sentenced today in the Johannesburg high court for the murder of Lihle on May 15 last year.

The couple was convicted five months ago.

Ofhani testified that from January 2004, Lihle was subjected to extreme abuse until her death.

She was only fed porridge in the morning and was beaten whenever she cried for food.

"She was not allowed to go to the toilet during the day," Ofhani told the court.

At times Lihle would be tied to a chair for the whole night.

"Two weeks before she died she was so weak and thin, but the assaults continued."

On the night Lihle died, the couple woke up, looked at the child and went back to sleep.

For two days they kept the corpse in their shack while they debated what to do with it.

The trial took a dramatic turn this week when the couple pleaded for a second chance.

They also blamed one another for Lihle's death.

Majaja said Makhale and his cousin were responsible. She said she only assaulted her daughter twice, on instructions from her abusive boyfriend.

Makhale said Majaja had ordered him to beat Lihle because she was spoilt.

He said Majaja, as a mother, had a moral duty to protect her daughter from harm.

Majaja said that given a second chance she would get married, have children and treat them differently.