A 20-year-old mother, who has admitted to trying to kill her two sons by lacing their porridge with Rattex, applied for bail yesterday so she could continue to receive her social grant and support the children.

Slindile Mtolo of Tamboville in Glenwood, Pietermaritzburg, was arrested on June 16 for the attempted murders of 4-month-old Melokuhle and 2-year-old Mthambo.

Warrant officer Alvin Freddy, who is opposing Mtolo’s bail application, said in an affidavit to the court that the community was outraged by the young woman’s actions and, if she was released on bail, he could not guarantee her safety.

Freddy revealed that Mtolo had a problem with the children’s father, who refused to support the two boys.

Mtolo, whose only income was the social welfare grant she received for her sons, tried to get help from a local NGO, but was unsuccessful.

It was after this failure that she had bought Rattex and mixed it with the porridge and poisoned her children.

“When the children started vomiting, she reported what happened to the neighbour. The police were called and she handed herself over,” Freddy said.

Freddy reiterated that the incident had caused outrage within the community.

The children, who both survived the murder attempt, are in the care of their grandmother (Mtolo’s mother).

Freddy said he was worried that, if released on bail, Mtolo could intimidate her mother and possibly harm the children again.

“Their safety is a major concern,” he said.

Mtolo, in her affidavit, admitted to poisoning her children and said she intended pleading guilty to the charges.

“I will not be able to receive the grant in prison,” she said.

The case has been adjourned to July 1 for judgment on bail.

Infanticide has become scarily commonplace in South Africa.

According to research by social worker Dianne Yeats, more than half of child murders were the result of abuse and neglect, with mothers being the worst perpetrators.

About 74 percent of these children were under five.

Yeats said poverty and depression were often factors.

“They are unable to cope with the financial and emotional expectations of raising a child, and feel abandoned by their partners and by society at large. Being in the grips of poverty, they feel they have no way out,” Yeats said.

Other cases

* This week the Daily News reported on a 29-year-old mother who tried to kill her newborn son by throwing him into a pit toilet.

Nontobeko Ngcobo pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced in the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court to eight years in prison, three of which were suspended for five years.

* Other cases that have made headlines include the murder of 3-year-old Jamie Naidoo in Chatsworth.

Jamie’s mother, Patricia Kershie Ishwarlal, 31, and grandmother, Salatchee Venilla Basanich, 55, have been charged with her murder.

They will appear in court again next month.

Jamie was in the foster care of her grandmother when she died in November last year.

It is alleged Jamie was assaulted over time, resulting in her death.

* In April this year a 21-year-old woman was given a wholly suspended sentence in the Pietermaritzburg High Court for the murder of her 2-year-old daughter.

Nontobeko Mosoeu pleaded guilty to the murder of her child, Esihle Xoliswa Mosoeu.

Mosoeu told the court that she was unable to care for and raise her child.

Overcome by hopelessness on October 31 last year, she strangled the child with a belt and dumped her tiny body in a latrine.

* In July last year Nompumelelo Nyati, 18, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, four of which were suspended for five years for the murder of her 18-month-old daughter, Aphiwe, on May 2, 2014.

Nyati said she had killed her daughter because she was too poor to care for her on her own, after the father and his family had refused to assist her.

Desperate and alone, Nyati stabbed her daughter in the chest with a bread knife.