She lied to the court when she said it was a spur of the moment decision. This was the verdict of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, as it convicted her of murder and attempted murder.
Her baby son Mapempeni Madoda died hours after he was fed the yoghurt for breakfast. His 2-year-old brother Siyamthanda Mmbatha survived.
Former police officer Thobile Mbatha, 30, of Tsakane, near Springs, cried hysterically as she told the court foam came out of her youngest child’s nose after she fed him the lethal concoction. She maintained she wanted to commit suicide as the children's father two-timed her with another woman, with whom he had also fathered a child.
She claimed she was the first to drink the rat poison. She then thought who would look after her two children and decided to poison them, too.
The mother said she immediately rushed them to the clinic and later to hospital. She told relatives and the doctors she had poisoned the children.
But her mother in-law and another family member said that when asked why the youngest was crying non-stop on September 2, 2016, Mbatha told them the child had fallen out of bed.
It was said Mbatha persisted with this version and only later told the doctors she had poisoned both children. It was also established that Mbatha had poisoned the children hours before she eventually took them to hospital.
Doctors at the clinic testified that if the mother had told them from the start about the poison, they could have saved the baby’s life.
The mother called the father of the children as a witness to back up her version. The father, also a police officer, changed his version twice but it still didn't match hers.
Acting Judge JJ Hattingh said Mbatha was a poor witness and lying about the fact that she went out to buy the poison, as she wanted to get out of the fact that the crime was planned.
He also said she clearly at first lied to everyone. Had she been honest, the tragedy could have been averted. “But she persisted with the lie.”
She will remain behind bars until she is sentenced on December 10.