A Mamelodi man who drowned or suffocated his girlfriend’s six-month-old baby in a bucket of urine has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mandla Chauke, 29 showed no emotion when Acting Judge Piet Pistorius sentenced him for the premeditated murder of his girlfriend Tebatso Choche’s baby girl Boikgontsho in his shack in Mamelodi East in December 2016.
The baby died a gruesome death after Chauke placed her in a tightly closed urine bucket with another heavy water bucket on top to ensure that she did not survive and her body was not detected.
The body was only discovered after her frantic mother called in the police.
She had fled from Chauke’s shack that morning because he had assaulted her, but left her sleeping baby behind.
The police at first did not want to assist her because Chauke told them her uncle had removed the baby, but accompanied them back after her uncle denied the claim.
Judge Pistorius described the murder of the helpless, frail baby as a particularly appalling and heinous crime for which Chauke showed not a shred of regret.
The judge said it was particularly painful to reflect on what potential this child had and what role she could have played in society. She did not deserve to die such a degrading death.
He said Chauke had caused much pain and hurt not only to his victim but to her loved ones – and especially her mother, who would have to live with the loss of her only child for the rest of her life.
Judge Pistorius said the country had been ravaged for too long by violence against women and children, and society would lose faith in the courts if lenient sentences were imposed for such despicable crimes.
Boikgontsho’s mother and grandmother Maria said they were relieved, but would never be able to forget what happened or to forgive Chauke for what he did.