Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
10 Jun 2022
2:13 pm

Cape Town man sentenced to life for burning eight-month-old daughter alive

Citizen Reporter

Pothelwa doused his eight-month-old daughter with paraffin and set her alight.

Photo: iStock

The High Court of South Africa has sentenced Vusumzi Pothelwa to life imprisonment for murdering his eight-month-old toddler by dousing her with paraffin and setting her alight in Du Noon, Western Cape in November 2019.

On 26 April 2022 Pothelwa was convicted for the gruesome murder of his toddler. He was described as a cold blooded killer and a danger to society by the presiding officer.

He was also convicted of arson and the attempted murder of his ex-girlfriend Sivuyisive Mtshengu, whom he had assaulted.

On top of the life imprisonment, he received additional four years for the attempted murder of his ex girlfriend, six month for assault, and one year for arson.

The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, and he was also declared unfit to possess a firearm.

The gruesome incident

The events that led to the heinous murder of the baby took place on 16 December 2019, when Mtshengu attended her cousin’s birthday celebration in Du Noon.

Pothelwa was invited but chose not to attend. Mtshengu then bought him beers so he could look after their two children.

When Mtshengu returned from the party accompanied by her cousin and her cousin’s boyfriend, a fight between ensued between Pothelwa, the cousin and her boyfriend.

The cousin and the boyfriend eventually left and Mtshengu took the baby to bed while Pothelwa was still drinking and playing loud music inside the room.

Mtshengu pleaded with Pothela to lower the volume but he refused and then assaulted her when she attempted to lower the volume.

She then took her child to go sleep in the outside toilet when Pothelwa followed them and hurled insults at her.

He took paraffin from a heater that was placed in the toilet and poured it on her and the toddler.

She fled to a nearby house leaving the baby behind. When the neighbours went to investigate, they discovered the toddler on fire on the corner of the toilet.

When Mtshengu later returned to the house she found the police who told her that her child burnt to death.

She was treated for the bruises which she sustained during the assault.

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