A Soweto couple appeared separately in the Protea Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for allegedly killing their two-year-old daughter.
The couple faces charges of murder, rape and child abuse.
The 17-year-old mother appeared in the children’s court in the Protea Magistrate’s Court.
Her lover, aged 30, who is also the victim’s stepfather, appeared separately in a packed courtroom.
Magistrate Audrey Mpofu warned the boyfriend he was facing schedule 6 offences and would need to be represented by a lawyer.
“If found guilty, you can stay in jail for the rest of your life. Rape of a minor child carries a prescribed minimum sentence of life, murder with aggravating circumstances also carries a sentence of life, while child abuse carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail,” Mpofu warned the man.
The accused, who appeared calm, replied that he would need a lawyer to defend him. He said he was intending to bring a bail application at his next appearance next month.
State prosecutor Thami Mokgoko told the court that they will oppose bail.
It is alleged the victim was raped and assaulted at her stepfather’s home in Diepkloof.
The minor later succumbed to her injuries at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital on 19 November.
The couple was arrested on Tuesday after an investigation by the police.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said, on 16 November, members of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) were summoned by a medical practitioner at the hospital (Baragwanath), who alerted them to the rape of a two-year-old child.
The victim had been assaulted and was brought to the hospital on 15 November for medical attention.
“An urgent forensic investigation was embarked on and all relevant forensic evidence collected for processing by the SAPS Forensic Science Laboratory. It was only on 17 November 2020 that the 17-year-old mother of the victim came to report the incident to the police.
“Nevertheless, this assisted police in obtaining vital information towards building a solid case in order to secure arrests.
“Police preliminary investigations were able to establish that, on 15 November, the mother had left her daughter in the care of her boyfriend for about two hours.
“On her return, around 20h30, she allegedly found the boyfriend not around, but instead the boyfriend’s father was home, and the child was asleep. She went to sleep not wanting to disturb the child,” said Peters.
The mother claimed that she woke up in the middle of the night to check on the child, only to find the child with serious injuries to her face.
Admitted with injuries
“She took the child to nearby Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital for medical attention. The outcome of the medical examination found that the child had been penetrated and that is when the doctor called the police.
“Sadly, the child succumbed to injuries and was certified dead on 19 November 2020. The initial case of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm was subsequently changed to murder.
“Investigations continue, pending the outcome of the forensic analysis as police seek to build a watertight case that can stand in court and see justice served.
“Police have reason to believe that the deceased may have suffered previous abuse at the hands of her stepfather, and this went unreported. This is the basis of the arrest of the teenage mother who, in this instance, only reported the incident to the police two days later,” Peters said.
The couple is expected back in court on 2 December.