Pretoria – The Mpumalanga High Court, sitting in Graskop, has sentenced Fanni Poloane, 31, and Keletso Sesi Maimela, 32, to 25 years imprisonment for the murder of their 18-month-old daughter.
“Keletso Sesi is the biological mother of the deceased (toddler) and the two were in a relationship staying together at Ga-Madiseng Riba Cross in Lydenburg,” said Mpumalanga spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, Monica Nyuswa.
The court heard that during September 2019, the pair conspired and took the toddler to the mountains around Lydenburg at night.
“Upon their arrival, they immersed the victim in a bucket full of water with her head facing down until she died. They then threw her lifeless body in the bushes and went back to their place of residence,” Nyuswa said.
“The accused’s parents kept on asking the whereabouts of the deceased and they could not give a proper response. The matter was reported to the police and they (Poloane and Maimela) were arrested.”
An extensive search was conducted but the body of the toddler was never found.
During trial, the two parents testified against each other.
“Maimela told the court that Poloane forced her to kill her baby. Advocate Thulani Msibi led evidence of several witnesses including the testimonies of the accused’s family members. They testified that after the deceased was taken by the accused to the mountains, she was never seen again dead or alive,” Nyuswa said.
“The court found evidence of the State witnesses credible, and the pair was convicted of premeditated murder and defeating the ends of justice.”
Addressing the court in aggravation of sentence Msibi submitted that the hapless toddler died in the hands of her parents, who were supposed to care, protect and support her.
Msibi requested the court to sentence the parents to life imprisonment.
Sentencing the two parents, Judge Kgama Shai highlighted that infanticide would not be tolerated in society, and the greater family has found no closure as the body of the toddler was never recovered.
He sentenced each accused to 20 years imprisonment for murder and five years’ imprisonment for defeating the ends of justice. The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, with the effective sentence being 20 years direct imprisonment.
Acting director of public prosecutions in Mpumalanga, Sonja Ntuli has welcomed the conviction and sentence.