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Two moms killed, two babies stolen

Johannesburg - Two women, two separate brutal murders and one method of killing to steal an unborn child.

Zandile Makulana and Loretta Cooke don’t know each other and live on opposite sides of Joburg. But they allegedly slashed open the abdomen of their pregnant victims last year, killing them and then stealing their babies.

In one case the baby survived. The other baby died.

Makulana and Cooke had allegedly pretended to be pregnant prior to the commission of the crimes.

Sitting in court on Thursday, Makulana kept playing with the tissue paper in her hand while consulting with her lawyer.

According to the indictment, Makulana pretended to be pregnant to her live-in lover, family, Boksburg neighbours and her alleged victim, Pretty Tsanga. On July 31, Makulana visited Tsanga at her home. With Tsanga’s family also present, Makulana indicated that her due date was similar to Tsanga’s, whose expected delivery date was August 14.

The two left the house.

A few hours later, Makulana returned to her boyfriend’s place carrying a baby and claiming she had given birth in the veld. The boyfriend took her to hospital.

“Upon examination of the baby and the accused, it transpired that the baby was deceased and that Makulana showed no physical signs of having given birth recently as she claimed she did,” the indictment states.

Tsanga’s burnt body with the abdomen cut open was later found in a sports field nearby.

Upon questioning, Makulana allegedly implicated a sangoma and two other people in the killing of Tsanga and the removal of her baby from her womb. She claimed Tsanga’s death was a ritual killing and she was an innocent bystander.

After questioning, the sangoma and the others were released as they could not be linked to the crime.

Makulana faces two charges of murder, kidnapping and defeating the ends of justice. She is in custody.

Cooke, of Toekomsrus, Mogale City, will go on trial in July on a charge of murder. In January last year, Cooke allegedly invited a heavily pregnant Valencia Behrens to her house under the pretext of giving her a pram.

Paramedics and police were called to Cooke’s house. They found Behrens lying in the passage with her abdomen cut open and the baby removed. She had bled to death.

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