As memory candle burns for her dead son, Zandile stabbed baby girl to death

SHOCKED: Patrick Soka outside the house in Lenasia South where his sister killed her nine-day-old baby. PIc. Antonio Muchave. 21/08/08. © Sowetan.
SHOCKED: Patrick Soka outside the house in Lenasia South where his sister killed her nine-day-old baby. PIc. Antonio Muchave. 21/08/08. © Sowetan.

Penwell Dlamini

Penwell Dlamini

A desperately poor mother, who feared she would not be able to feed her baby, killed her nine-day-old child just 24 hours after her one-year-old son had died.

Zandile Msibi - not her real name - gave birth to her daughter on her own two weeks ago in a little shack.

"She ordered me to go out at about 5am and said some women were coming to help her so I left the room," Msibi's brother, Patrick Soka, told Sowetan.

Soka went to sleep in one of the other rooms in the little shack complex, and when he woke up he had a niece.

Everything looked well in the little shack until Sunday when Msibi's one-year-old son died after his hands and feet swelled up.

"She looked depressed but did not want to say a lot about it," the brother said.

She even lit a candle in the room in memory of her little boy.

But things took a turn for the worse the next day.

Msibi told her landlord, Catherine Mongale, that she was going somewhere.

"She left with the baby at about 1pm and came back four hours later without a baby.

"When I asked, she said she had left it with her family members in Leratong," Mongale said.

On Tuesday, Mongale asked Msibi again where the baby was and she changed her tone.

"She told me it was her baby and that I should not be bothering her."

When Mongale pressed her, Msibi gave her some telephone numbers but when she called them they did not exist.

"I then called the police because I could feel there was something wrong."

Police took Msibi and a neighbour, Cecilia Sibedi, to the police station for questioning.

"She gave police unclear answers hence they decided to take her to Leratong where she could show them the baby," police spokesman Inspector Mpho Kgasoane said.

While Msibi, Mongale, and Sibedi were on their way there, she started crying.

"I asked her what was wrong and she did not answer but asked us to stop," Sibedi said.

After the van had pulled off, Msibi told police that she had killed her daughter and left her dead in pen veld near the Meriting informal settlement.

Police rushed there and found the baby wrapped in a refuse bag and stuffed into a bucket.

The baby had been stabbed in its upper body.

"When we asked her, she told us that she killed the baby with a scissors," Kgasoane said.

"She told us she killed the baby because she is poor and could not take care of her."

Police then went back to the shack where Msibi pointed out a pair of scissors.

The police arrested her there and then.

"She said that she was unemployed did not have money to take care of the baby," Kgasoane said.

She told police that she had broken up with the baby's father early in her pregnancy.

Last night, Msibi was in Lenasia South police cells after being charged with the murder of her baby girl.

She will appear in the Vereeniging magistrate's court on Monday.