Minenhle Maditla (first from left at the top in the framed picture), Blessing Maditla (second from left at the top), Ethen Maditla (first from left at the bottom) and Shaniqua Maditla were allegedly killed by their mother Zinhle Maditla in their rented room in Klarinet in Emalahleni, Mpumalanga. Picture: Balise Mabona/ANA

Emalahleni - Mpumalanga member of the executive council (MEC) for social development Busisiwe Shiba on Tuesday appealed to community members to monitor one another and notify their local authorities if they noticed that anyone displaying symptoms of being depressed.

Shiba was speaking to the reporters at the Old Pretoria Road Cemetery in Emalahleni, where four children were buried. The children were allegedly killed by their 24-year-old mother, Zinhle Maditla.

The funeral was attended by more than 5 000 people. They included members of the African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters. 

"If you see that someone is depressed, let us know," said Shiba.

"We have social workers who are trained to do their job. We are able to take a child to a place of safety and foster care centres and attend to the mother." 

Maditla, who was not present at the funeral, is in police custody and was expected to apply for bail in court on 14 January. 

She handed herself over to the police on 20 December, shortly after the decomposed bodies of her four children were found in her rented room in Klarinet in Emalahleni. 

The bodies of two girls, aged four and eight, and two boys, aged seven years and 11 months were removed by the authorities. Maditla was charged with four counts of murder.

Speaking at the same cemetery, executive mayor of Emalahleni Local Municipality Linah Malatjie said the municipality would have assisted Maditla if she had asked for help.

"We could have helped her ... depending on what kind of help she needed," said Malatjie.

"This is obviously an issue of depression. It appears as if there are still problems even if the department of social development is helping with grants." 

Malatjie thanked local business people including the undertakers whom she said contributed to the expenses of the funeral

African News Agency (ANA)