Johannesburg - Neighbours said the woman turned up the TV and, as her two-year-old son looked on, her brand-new baby was stabbed 10 times.
But, when Samantha Sibindi tried to leave the room – with the infant’s body wrapped in plastic in a plastic bath tub – her neighbours were quick to spot what had happened.
Witnesses said Sibindi had collapsed as she opened her door, presumably due to a loss of blood.
“I asked her what was wrong, she just groaned. Half her body was outside, so I walked closer… And then saw the blood, and the scissors. There was blood everywhere. I screamed out in shock and other ladies in the yard rushed over,” said Mpho Monare.
Monare then ran 800m to the police station while other neighbours called for help.
Another neighbour, who declined to be named, said: “What she did ke masepa (it’s s***)! How do you do that with a toddler in the room? How do you even kill an innocent baby?
“Why didn’t she give the child away? We all wanted to moer her.”
Monare said: “They should lock her up for a very long time. What she did is disgusting.”
Sibindi’s landlord, Sarah Nyanzara, and other neighbours said she was a loner who communicated only with another woman, who had been taken in for questioning on Thursday.
“While we were sitting outside during the day, this other Zimbabwean neighbour frequented her room, so she should explain. Police took her today. You see, our rooms are divided by a very thin partition, that’s why that TV was on full blast,” said Monare.
The violence, in one of the one-roomed tin structures in the backyard of a Kempton Park home, comes at a time when the country is observing 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children. It has sent shockwaves through her neighbourhood while human rights organisations try to make sense of the incident.
Sibindi appeared briefly in the Kempton Park Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on a charge of murder and concealment of birth.
She is due to appear in court again next week. Sibindi has been denied bail and remains in custody.
On November 17, Sibindi is alleged to have gone into labour in her room.
An hour after giving birth to a baby boy, she is alleged to have taken a pair of scissors and stabbed the infant 10 times in the chest area, killing him.
“If it wasn’t for police, we would have beaten her up. They rescued her.”
Joan van Niekerk, of Childline, said women were often driven to such extremes by pressure brought on by poverty, lack of support and depression.
“It’s really a tragic situation. We are seeing an increasing number of children killed by their parents, especially mothers.
“One would really need to know what kind of situation she was in – was it a problem where the mother was mentally ill? It does not excuse her behaviour, but in our experience these events usually happen due to extreme pressure.”