Mom of slain baby Nkanyiso now fears for her life

Two-month-old Nkanyiso Mtshweni was killed, allegedly by her father, on January 28. / SUPPLIED
Two-month-old Nkanyiso Mtshweni was killed, allegedly by her father, on January 28. / SUPPLIED

The mother of a two-month-old baby who was allegedly strangled and stabbed to death before her throat was slit with a bottle, is distressed that her daughter's alleged killer has been granted bail.

Baby Nkanyiso was murdered on January 28 in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga. The child's father, 27-year-old Irvin Mahlangu, has been arrested and charged with the killing.

The KwaMhlanga magistrate's court granted Mahlangu bail of R5,000 on Monday but the child's mother, Pearl Mtshweni, 22, is demanding that bail be revoked. She said she fears for her life.

Mtshweni said she narrowly escaped the same fate as her daughter Nkanyiso after neighbours rescued her.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, Mtshweni recalled that fateful Tuesday when she and her child arrived at the home of her boyfriend, whom she was supposed to drive to work.

Mtshweni said he told her that he was not yet ready.

Mahlangu had apparently sent her a text message the previous night asking her to arrive at 8am.

While she waited for him to finish preparing himself, the man suddenly decided that he was no longer going to work, she claimed.

"I had waited for him to get ready and when I went inside he said he had changed his mind about going to work so he could spend time with us," said Mtshweni.

She said everything looked normal. They kept talking until she fell asleep on the bed with the baby. She said when she woke up, she discovered the baby was not on the bed.

She heard her coughing. She said that when she went to the next bedroom, Mahlangu was shouting that he was ready to sacrifice the baby. Like a man possessed, Mtshweni said, "he had her in his hands and said the gods must get ready to bless him and open his ways because he had done what they wanted".

Mtshweni described the
R5,000 bail granted to Mahlangu as an insult to her and her family.

"My daughter was just two months when this man killed her. I survived after I was rescued by neighbours," she recalled.

She said she had never been the same since that day.

"What does the justice system mean with such decisions when we are fighting against gender-based violence and the killing of women and children? I am deeply pained," said Mtshweni.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said the state opposed Mahlangu's bail but in the end the court granted it.

Mtshweni's mother, Mary, said she fears for her daughter's life after Mahlangu was released on bail.

"She was healing and getting better but now she is back on anxiety and panic [medication]. I don't understand why the justice system had to fail us like this," said the mother.

Mary also told Sowetan that her daughter was still undergoing trauma counselling with other members of the family after they saw the murder scene.

"I cannot forget the evil manner in which my grandchild was killed. She could have been seven months as we speak, crawling, giggling and making loud baby sounds in the house, but her killer is out, walking free like nothing happened," she said.

Mary said the family wants the NPA to apply for bail to be revoked.

Mpumalanga NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa said the bail granted "did not mean the accused person is acquitted and the fact that the matter is in court clearly shows that the accused has a case to answer".

She added that the matter is to be transferred to the high court. "If the family demands the bail for the accused to be revoked, they need to contact the investigating officer and provide a statement under oath," she said.

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