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Cape Town - A Delft boy who witnessed his mother douse his younger brother with paraffin before setting him alight, killing him, has forgiven her and wants her home from prison as soon as possible.
However, it will take about eight years before Noluthando Pamela Nomavayi, sentenced to 11 years in jail for murdering her nine-year-old son Aphelele, becomes eligible for parole.
Western Cape High Court Judge Vincent Saldanha sentenced Nomavayi, 37, on Thursday for the “gruesome” murder she committed in a “fit of rage” last year.
In delivering his sentence, Judge Saldanha highlighted how the incident affected 13-year-old Mnikeli.
A probation officer had interviewed Mnikeli and, during their consultation, Mnikeli said he had forgiven his mother and was not angry at her.
“He reported he was still very sad about his brother’s death and missed him very much,” Judge Saldanha said, referring to the probation officer’s report.
Mnikeli and Aphelele were doused with paraffin on May 31 last year after their mother caught them smoking cigarettes in the yard.
While Nomavayi struck a match and set Aphelele alight, Mnikeli managed to get away. Aphelele sustained burns to 90 percent of his body and was admitted to Red Cross Children’s Hospital. He died six weeks later.
Nomavayi was charged with murder and attempted murder.
Judge Saldanha said on Thursday it was concerning that Nomavayi was released on bail seven months after the incident and was allowed to return home, where Mnikeli lived.
“It appeared no steps had been taken to avoid the accused from influencing [Mnikeli],” Judge Saldanha said. Mnikeli was placed in foster care a few days before the trial began.
Nomavayi faced the prescribed minimum sentence of 15 years in jail for a first offender accused of murder. But Judge Saldanha found that exceptional and compelling circumstances existed to deviate from the prescribed sentence.
“In this regard I take into account the history of abuse at the hands of [Nomavayi’s] mother and the trauma that festered in her for many years. It’s apparent the accused suffered from depression that manifested itself in her equally brutal attempts at suicide,” Judge Saldanha said.