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Child killer Zinhle Maditla wails as four life prison terms start

Zinhle Maditla pleaded guilty to the crimes.
Zinhle Maditla pleaded guilty to the crimes.
Image: Thulani Mbele/SowetanLIVE

Moments after high court judge Sheila Mphahlele sentenced Zinhle Maditla to four life sentences for murdering her four children, she wailed as she was led towards her cell on Friday.

The Witbank mother pleaded guilty to the Day of Goodwill 2018 murders of Minenhle, 8, Blessing, 7, Shaniqua, 4, and Ethen, who was 11 months old.

The court, sitting in Middelburg, heard that she’d discovered the father of two of the children was in a relationship with another woman and, in the grips of depression, chose to poison her children.

She plied the children with bread laced with a potent rat poison, causing them to fall ill and later die. Several days later, the decomposed bodies of the youngsters were found in the bed in her room in Klarinet Extension 5, covered with a blanket.

Mphahlele found that there was no reason to deviate from the maximum prescribed sentence of life for each murder.

She said the murders of the children had been carefully calculated and premeditated.

“Their mother was meant to nurture and protect them ... She betrayed her own children.”

While she clung to the court orderly, who shuffled her out of the courtroom, Maditla’s family sat huddled together. Family spokesperson Kevin Balance said while the mass murder was heinous, her relatives had decided to stand by her.

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