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Vryburg - It was a day of high emotional drama in the Vryburg Circuit Court on Tuesday when Vinolia Siwa admitted to stabbing four of her children in the neck with a steak knife and drowning her two-year-old baby.
Siwa, who is now possibly facing five life sentences, fought hard to hold back her tears when North West High Court Judge Ronald Hendricks gave his verdict on the case.
“In your written statement submitted in court by your legal counsel [Nzame Skibi], you have admitted that you intended to kill your children by stabbing four of them and drowning the youngest one in a container of water.
“You have also not disputed any of the elements of the case, therefore the court is satisfied that you are guilty on all five murder charges,” Judge Hendricks said.
The mood in the packed court was tense while the judge delivered his verdict.
In the statement that Siwa presented to the court through her legal counsel, she said that she had the intention to kill her children.
“I admit that my actions were wrong. I stabbed four children [Sizwe, who was 13 years old and disabled, 10-year-old Lukanyo, five-year-old Edward and four-year-old Reatlegile] in their necks with a kitchen knife and I drowned the youngest child [two-year-old Naledi],” Siwa said.
She said depression, financial problems and abuse at the hands of her children’s father, Israel Lesimola, who was her boyfriend at the time, drove her to murder.
“At the time of the incident I was very depressed because I was unemployed and we were struggling in the house.
“The grant money I was getting was not enough to feed the children and the father of the children was only contributing R100 per month, which was not enough for all of us.
“Lesimola was also physically assaulting the children… he even broke Sizwe’s thigh at some point,” Siwa stated.
She said that Lesimola was also sexually abusing Sizwe and that every time she pleaded with him to stop beating the children, Lesimola would become verbally abusive towards her.
She said that on October 17, the day she killed the children, she was very depressed and miserable about her life.
“On the day of the incident I called my sister [Nomalanga] to take me and my children to the Taung taxi rank so that we could take a taxi to my mother’s house in Rustenburg.
“When Nomalanga arrived to pick us up in Mountainview [in Pampierstad], we went to Edward’s school to pick him up.
“From there Nomalanga drove me and the four children to the Taung taxi rank where she left us,” Siwa stated.
She said that when she saw that the taxi to Rustenburg was not getting full, she became impatient and got off the taxi to Rustenburg and got into another taxi going back to Pampierstad.
“On the way back to Pampierstad, I called my sister to pick us up at the taxi rank.
“When she arrived she had Lukhanyo with her. She drove us all to our home in Mountainview.
“I found my nephew, Mogomotsi, taking a bath. After he was done, he helped me fetch the water so that I could wash the children and then he left.
“I went to the kitchen, took a steak knife and stabbed the children on their necks and drowned the youngest one.
“I do not know how I left the house or how I got to the trees by the river [in Pampierstad] where I was arrested,” Siwa stated.
Although the State, represented by Nkhehleni Monyai, agreed with Siwa’s plea statement, it disputed her allegations that Lesimola was abusive towards the children and that she (Siwa) did not know how she left her home and went to the river in Pampierstad, where she was arrested the day after the murders. The state called on Lesimola, who testified that his relationship with the children was “very good”.
“The allegations that I assaulted the children are not true. In fact, I used to look after the children, particular Sizwe when the accused was not there… I have never assaulted him.
“I am also disputing the statement that I only contributed R100 per month towards the household. When I worked at the Pick n Pay store, I was earning R3 000 per month and I used to spend most of it on food and household items needed,” Lesimola stated.
Warrant Officer Sello Ngwato, the investigating officer in the case, disputed Siwa’s statement that she did not know how she ended up at the river in Pampierstad.
“When we arrested her, she told me that she was aware that she had killed her children and that she had left the house to drown herself in the river.
“She said she wanted to commit suicide, but failed after three attempts.
“She also told me that she had asked for forgiveness from God and that she was going to go to the police station to hand herself over,” Ngwato said.
Skibi, advocate for the defence, did not object to the State’s submitting the post-mortem reports of the five children and the psychology report stating that Siwa was mentally fit to stand trial.
The case was postponed to November for sentencing and to allow the defence to present the social worker’s pre-sentencing report in mitigation.