Cape Town - The State intends proving that Mitchells Plain mother Zulpha Jacobs smothered her two-year-old son Tariq by pressing his face into the sand until he could not breathe.
This was revealed in the indictment handed to Jacobs and her lawyer, Bertha Cottle, in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Jacobs, 31, was expected to bring a formal bail application on Wednesday, but decided against it. She abandoned her first bail bid in January and has been in custody for eight months. Last Monday, she told the court that she wanted bail, but on Wednesday she changed her mind.
The State alleges in the indictment that Jacobs killed her son on December 29 “by pressing his face in the sand and smothering him”.
It is further alleged that Jacobs, knowing that she had killed her son, told police that Tariq disappeared after she had taken him shopping at the Mitchells Plain Town Centre.
Residents launched a massive search for Tariq and, two days later, a neighbourhood watch member found his body in a shallow grave in a field close to the Imperial Primary School in Beacon Valley.
The post-mortem report said the cause of death was asphyxia due to suffocation.
The State has charged Jacobs with premeditated murder, alleging that she planned her son’s death.
She faces life imprisonment if convicted.
A lesser sentence may be imposed only if the presiding officer hearing her case is convinced that exceptional and compelling circumstances exist to justify a deviation from the prescribed minimum sentence.
Senior public prosecutor Laetitia du Plessis said on Wednesday that the case was ready to be transferred to the Western Cape High Court for trial.
Thirty-nine witnesses are lined up to testify for the State.
Du Plessis said a pre-trial conference date of October 12 had been arranged for Jacob’s first appearance in the high court and October 29 to November 11 has been set as preliminary trial dates.
After the court hearing, Tariq’s aunt, Twagheeda Davids, said her family was struggling to deal with toddler’s death. Tariq’s father, Waleed Jacobs, had visited his son’s grave at Eid.
Jacobs is being held at Pollsmoor Prison.