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A man in the middle of a suspected love triangle is believed to have poisoned his family, killing his two toddlers and leaving their mother battling for her life in hospital.
But police said on Wednesday there might be discrepancies in the mother’s version of events.
“Police are not ruling out the possibility of her involvement in the crime,” said acting Gauteng commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba, who didn’t go into further details.
The girls’ father, a Mozambican, is on the run and police are looking for him.
Just before sunrise on Wednesday, Aaron Sibiya was planting mealies on a patch of land in an open stretch of veld near the M7 in Zonk’iZizwe, Ekurhuleni, when a woman’s voice called out to him.
“Old man, old man, please help me,” the voice said in Zulu.
The 72-year-old man looked around but couldn’t see anything.
The voice, which seemed to be running out of breath, kept calling out: “Please help me, call the police.”
Sibiya walked towards a dilapidated structure with half-built walls and realised that the sound emanated from a weak woman. Without saying a word, Sibiya rushed to the local police station.
He returned with the police to find the woman had crawled out of the building and was now lying on her abdomen under a huge tree.
Two little girls, aged one and three, were lying dead inside the walls of the structure.
Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the little information they had gathered from the woman was that she and her husband are Mozambican.
He lived in eMalahleni, Mpumalanga, and she and the children lived in Maputo. The husband had allegedly asked her to come to South Africa with the toddlers.
When the 26-year-old woman arrived at her husband’s house, she was confronted by another woman, who chased her and the children away.
“She said her husband then put her and the children in the car and dropped them here last night. He also gave them the juice, which we believe was poisoned. He is a suspect,” Dlamini said at the crime scene.
Alfred Dube, who was also planting mealies, said he heard the woman say she was from Mozambique and that when her husband dropped her and their children in the veld, he allegedly said “you will fend for yourselves”, before driving off.
She said her husband gave them juice, which she first gave to the children to drink. When she drank it, she started feeling weak.
“When the police talked about her dead children, all she did was just stare at the ground,” Dube said.
It is not known why the man allegedly drove about 140km from Mpumalanga to dump his family in Zonk’iZizwe.
Residents said the open field was a notorious crime spot. They said a man was stabbed there at the weekend and a pregnant woman walking there with her boyfriend was shot dead towards the end of August.