Johannesburg - The Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court has granted bail to the two mothers arrested for the deaths of their five children after a fire broke out at the Itireleng Informal Settlement in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, last week while they were out at a local tavern.
The two sisters, Lindiwe Machaka, 39, and Zanele Machaka, 37, from the informal settlement near Laudium, appeared briefly at the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court yesterday.
The pair are facing five counts of culpable homicide for the deaths of five children aged one, two, four, five and six, as well as a charge of child neglect.
Lindiwe was the mother to two of the children, aged one and two, while her sister Zanele was the mother to the rest of the three children.
It is alleged that on the evening of August 27, the two women locked the five children inside their shack and went to a nearby tavern.
Tshwane’s Emergency Services Departmental spokesperson Charles Mabaso said the fire that broke out was reported at 4.26 a.m. on the Sunday.
“Firefighters arrived on the scene to find multiple shacks engulfed by fire and immediately started with firefighting operations. The remains of five children burnt beyond recognition were discovered in the ruins of the shacks after the fire was extinguished,” said Mabaso.
The women were arrested at the tavern on the same day and have remained in custody until their brief appearance in court yesterday, where they pleaded for bail to be set at R500.
The magistrate, however, declined this, as she indicated that due to the seriousness of the offence, she would grant bail but that it would be set at R5 000 instead.
Through their legal representative, the two sisters told the court they would be unable to pay the amount set.
The matter was subsequently postponed to September 15 for a report from the Department of Correctional Services to check if the two sisters were suitable to be placed under correctional supervision after bail was granted.