Pensioners accused of drowning girl to appear in court next year

Given Mahlalela

Given Mahlalela

A murder case against the two Mpumalanga grannies who are accused of drowning a six-year-old girl for stealing a R2 coin was postponed to February 8.

The two are out on R3000 bail each. The grannies, Sophie Nkalanga, 69, and her accomplice Idah Mabaso, 70, made their fourth appearance at the Tonga magistrate's court yesterday.

The court was filled to capacity with the accused's relatives who wanted to make sure that the media did not take their pictures.

The two are accused of murdering Nomonde Matsebula at Langeloop village near Malelane two months ago

After the incident, residents vowed to take action against the accused, who then decided to temporarily leave the area until their case is finalised.

They are now staying with relatives elsewhere.

A Grade R pupil at Funulwazi Pre-School, Matsebula lived with her grandmother, Nkalanga, who two months ago accused her of stealing a R2 coin.

Police said Nkalanga allegedly punched the child before her church-mate and relative, Mabaso, arrived to join her in the girl's assault.

Mabaso allegedly told Nkalanga that she is more experienced in teaching thieving children a lesson, and that she would stop the girl from stealing.

The girl would indeed not steal again - after the two grannies allegedly put her in a bag and then into a basin filled with water - she drowned.

The grannies allegedly tightened the bag with a rope to ensure that she could not scream.

"I did not kill the girl, I just told Nkalanga that the best way to discipline a child is to put her in a bag and put it in a water basin," Mabaso told Sowetan.

"I had gone there just to greet my friend, who then asked me of ways of disciplining thieving children," Mabaso added.

The suspects are known as Christians at the Sabatha and Holiness Church.

Their arrest resulted in members of the community picketing in the streets near the Tonga magistrate's court and during their first court appearance.

"We still do not want to welcome them in the village.

"We would not change our collective decision," said a community member, Simon Nkambule.

However, Tonga police spokesman Constable Wandile Nyambi said they are not discouraged that the suspects are out on bail.

"We are still working on the case," Nyambi said.