An Alexandra woman burnt down a house in which two children of her love rival and two others were sleeping, killing all four. File picture: Pexels
Harrowing details of the reasons behind a deadly love triangle that left three children and an adult dead after a Joburg woman set fire to a rival’s home were laid bare in the High Court in Joburg.

An Alexandra woman who burnt down a house in which two children of her love rival and two others were sleeping, killing all four, confessed to being angry over being told to leave her boyfriend.

Vanessa Mpho Sedimela pleaded guilty on Thursday to killing Xolelwa Dyantyi, 29, Nelisiwe Mnqongo, 13, and Zikhona Nibe’s children, Ibenathi Gift, 5, and 7-year-old Sisona Angel Nibe. Based on the plea, Judge Ramarumo Monama found Sedimela guilty as charged.

Clad in a black leather jacket and sporting a long weave, Sedimela appeared unfazed in the dock.

In her plea statement, the 30-year-old told the court that she had set the home on fire in an effort to hurt Zikhona, 30, with whom she was sharing a boyfriend.

The April crime, described by the State as heinous, shocked residents of Alexandra. Luckily, the fire did not spread to surrounding homes.

The post-mortem found that carbon monoxide poisoning had claimed the lives of Dyantyi, Mnqongo and the Nibe minors. Their bodies were also badly burnt.

Sedimela, who has been behind bars while awaiting trial, has sidestepped trial by pleading guilty to the four counts of murder and one of arson.

In the plea statement read to court, Sedimela's advocate, Winners Makhubela, said she had got angry after Zikhona and a friend confronted her and told her to leave her boyfriend.

The boyfriend was also the father of Zikhona’s two dead children and he continued to see her. Neither were in the home when Sedimela started the fire.

Zikhona was Sedimela’s target in her attack at about 11.40pm when all the victims were sleeping.

“I felt I had to punish (Zikhona) for what she did to me with her friend,” Sedimela said in the plea statement.

Quizzed by Judge Monama why she proceeded to burn the home despite knowing there were people inside, Sedimela said she did not know there were children.

“But you knew there were people inside?” Judge Monama asked her. “I knew,” she replied.

“You set it alight with the intention to kill whoever was inside the house?” the judge retorted. She answered in the affirmative.

The matter was postponed to January 23 for pre-sentencing proceedings.

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