‘He killed the baby and ran away’
Cape Town - Andisiwe Mnandi could never have imagined that a routine feeding of her seven-month-old infant would end in her daughter’s horrific death.
Mnandi had woken up to feed little Inganathi at about 1am earlier this week.
An earlier argument with her boyfriend – who had recently been released from prison after serving two years for shoplifting – reportedly then resumed.
During this time, the Cape Argus was told, little Inganathi rolled off the bed.
“After the baby fell he went mad and started beating the baby profusely and swinging her across the room,” Mnandi’s aunt, Nosithembile Funani said.
The girl’s tiny body was smashed against the ceiling, the walls, and the prepaid electricity meter, she said.
The man also reportedly jumped on her body during the attack after throwing her across the room.
Inganathi’s seven-year-old sister tried to protect her from the beating, as their mother watched helplessly, screaming hysterically for help.
“She was already dead. He killed her and ran away,” Funani said.
When the Cape Argus visited the grief-stricken family in Philippi on Tuesday, Mnandi was still in shock, unable to speak, and sat emotionless as the family and the community streamed into the house to offer their condolences and support.
The baby’s brutal murder appeared to be the result of an earlier argument.
Mnandi and her boyfriend had decided earlier in the day that they would be spending the night with the two children at his house – a 10-minute walk away from hers.
Funani said Mnandi was reluctant to go, but left with the children anyway.
En route to his home, the boyfriend received a phone call, Funani said, from another woman.
“He told her that it was nothing and she too didn’t argue as she was also guilty of moving on with her life hence she had Inganathi with another man.”
The couple was trying to patch up their relationship.
Once they had arrived at his home, the children were put to bed.
At about 1am, when Mnandi woke up to feed Inganathi, he continued to apologise for the phone call.
“They ended up fighting and then he slapped Mnandi who fought back,” said Funani. It was then that Inganathi rolled off the bed, and the alleged brutal attack that ended her life ensued.
The 32-year-old suspect then fled, wearing navy and white shorts, slippers and a white vest.
Inganathi’s grandmother, Khululwa Ruga said the house was empty without her.
“It is true what they say, when the child is still new in the family people don’t pay much attention, but as the child grows the love and attention gets stronger. Inganathi was an adorable baby.
“She was starting to crawl and loved food. We would often tease her and dangle a chicken bone to see if she would come closer, and she did.”
Ruga said it was still painful to talk about Inganathi, who spent the festive season with her in the Eastern Cape.
“I don’t know how my daughter, Andisiwe, is going to continue with life when it is hard for me too.”
Funani said although the family did not approve of Mnandi getting back together with her boyfriend, he was showing signs of improvement.
“In the few days that he was here, he came each morning to help Andisiwe prepare Inganathi to go to her nanny.
“He was treating her like she was his.”
The family was eagerly awaiting news of the suspect’s arrest, but police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said the man was still on the run.
A case of murder is being investigated.