File picture: Timothy A. Clary

Durban - An 18-year-old Grade 10 mother wiped away her tears after being sentenced to an effective six years imprisonment by the Pietermaritzburg High Court for murdering her 7-month-old baby because she was too poor to care for her.

Four years of Nompumelelo Nyati’s 10-year sentence was suspended by Judge Thoba Poyo-Dlwati.

The young mother from eDumbe near Paulpietersburg had pleaded guilty, saying she stabbed her daughter, Aphiwe, after she did not get a R300 monthly child-support grant from March to May this year.

Unable to take care of the child, she took her to the father’s home on May 2, so his family could care for her, but they refused.

She then went to her grandmother’s house.

“On arrival from her father’s place, I put my child on the ground and stabbed her once in the chest,” Nyati said.

She then went and told neighbours and when she returned to her home, the child was still breathing. The baby died on the way to hospital.

Judge Poyo-Dlwati said she could not understand how a right-minded person would be able to stab her own child.

“If you were overwhelmed with the situation at home, you could have left her at social welfare. What you did is unforgivable.”

The judge said that a probation officer’s report had painted a bleak picture of Nyati’s family. She did not get along with her mother, her parents had divorced and her stepmother had abused her.

The judge said there were reasons she could impose a lesser sentence. These included that Nyati was a first-time offender and was remorseful for her actions. She reported to neighbours what she had done.

Also, she was a good candidate for rehabilitation.

The judge said the sentence was aimed at rehabilitating her.

The Mercury