Durban - “How does a father look at his crying baby and stab him with a screwdriver?”
That is what Balungile Nhlengethwa, the mother of two-year-old Simangaliso who was allegedly killed by her estranged boyfriend, is trying to make sense of.
The 33-year-old man, a painter, cannot be named because he has yet to appear in court.
He was detained on Friday night after he allegedly admitted to the killing.
That afternoon, he had gone to his former employer’s home in La Lucia, a bloodied Simangaliso clutched to his chest, and told them of having been mugged by three men who had stabbed the baby and robbed him of R85.
Details have now emerged of how he had allegedly kidnapped the baby from Nhlengethwa on Tuesday, and stabbed the toddler in the chest days later.
Anthea Andrew, of La Lucia, said that the man had arrived at her gate carrying the boy late on Friday afternoon.
“At first I didn’t recognise him but then when I went to see who he was I realised he was a man we had employed to paint our house a couple of months ago,” she said.
“While he was working for us he had said his baby was sick and he even left early once to take the child to hospital.”
Andrew said she had given the doting father money to take the baby to a hospital when it appeared the child was chronically ill.
“I thought he was coming to us to thank us and show us that the baby was better,” she said.
The man told Andrew that he had been attacked by three men while walking from the taxi rank. They had purportedly stabbed the child and robbed him of his money.
“He told me they (the robbers) even looked at his cellphone and because it was old had thrown it back at him,” she said.
A police source confirmed the father had been arrested after he had revealed to officers that the mugging was a ruse.
“He admitted he had killed the child with a screwdriver,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
The man will undergo psychiatric evaluation.
Nhlengethwa, a machinist from Amoati, said her pain was indescribable. “I have no words to explain what I am going through. The police told me that my child was dead and that his father had killed him. I am still shocked. I want to know why this has happened.”
Nhlengethwa said she and Simangaliso’s father had had an argument. He had kidnapped the baby on Tuesday.
“When I got home from work my elder son told me that the baby had been taken by his father. He wouldn’t take my calls,” she said.
Nhlengethwa had tried to report her son missing twice, but police had turned her away.
“Both times they told me that they couldn’t help because the child was with his father. Now my boy is dead,” she said.
The Durban North/Umhlanga Crisis Team is raising funds for Simangaliso’s funeral. A collection box has been placed at the Glenashley Wimpy.
The suspect will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.