'I did not expect him to kill our children'

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A man who axed his three children to death in one of the most horrific and brutal killings, appeared in the Greytown magistrate's court yesterday charged with three counts of murder and one of attempted murder.

Sthembiso Mathenjwa, 31, of Ngome, in Umsinga, KwaZulu-Natal, is accused of chopping to death his three children, 12-month-old Thalente, Bongukuphila, 3, and Zamaswazi, 6, on Saturday night after a drinking spree.

His wife, Thokozile Dladla, 28, and Sanelisiwe, 8, survived the attack by running away from the berserk man.

Dladla said she had endured nine years of physical and sexual abuse at Mathenjwa's hands, adding she had tolerated this for the sake of the children and that she was solely dependent on him as she was an orphan.

Describing events leading to her children's death, Dladla said Mathenjwa had come home drunk and demanded sex.

When she told him she was menstruating, he accused her of cheating on him.

She said to avoid an argument, she left the house and sought refuge with neighbours, leaving all four children asleep.

Dladla said she had expected him to beat her up as he usually did whenever he was drunk.

"I knew he was going to beat me up as usual, but I was not expecting him to kill our children.

"As the neighbours were asleep, I waited outside the house and my eldest daughter came out running," she said.

She waited for a while before going into the house where she made the gruesome discovery.

She said her children's lifeless bodies were scattered all over the floor with a bloodied axe next to them.

Mathenjwa was armed with another axe when he was arrested the next day. Police spokesman Thembelihle Ngobese said Mathenjwa was remanded in custody for further investigations.