DURBAN: The woman and her mother are not only accused of killing the woman’s three-year old daughter X Naidoo, but also of torturing and sexually abusing the three elder children.
The statement read out at courts makes claims that apart from burning the children with a hot iron and cigarettes, three-year old baby X, who eventually died, allegedly had chillies inserted into her genitals while the penis of the eldest of the mother’s three surviving children was pinched and burnt with a cigarette.
All the above was release at the indictment hearing, which was served on the 32-year-old mother and her own mother, a 55-year-old woman, when they appeared briefly in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s court on Thursday.
The indictment weaves a sad state of abuse, torture, sexual abuse and neglect relating to the older of the mother’s four children.
Only the very youngest of the children was apparently spared from abuse.
The women have been charged with three counts of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, four counts of child abuse, one count of sexual assault, and three counts of failing to provide medical assistance.
Baby X’s grandmother faces an additional charge of murder, two charges of sexual assault, and one charge of rape.
According to the indictment, in June 2007 the mother applied to have her children placed in foster care as a result of her financial situation and a drug habit.
In 2008 the Durban Children’s Court placed the two surviving older children – a boy and a girl now aged 10 and eight years – in the care of their grandmother.
Later when the third child (X) was born, she too was placed in the care of the grandmother, who lived in the Havenside area of Chatsworth in Durban.
The mother has also been noted for taking all 3 children with her on several occasions to beg for money in Durban’s Point area, notorious for its drug and prostitution scene. Throughout all that was read out at court, the worst treatment appears to have been reserved for the deceased child.
On some occasions, X would be deprived of food as a punishment and when her two siblings wanted to give her food, they would be stopped by either their mother or their grandmother.
“During the period that the deceased lived with accused 1 (grandmother), accused 1 sexually assaulted the deceased on diverse occasions by burning the deceased with cigarettes on her pubic area and by rubbing chillies onto her pubic area.
In addition, accused 1 sexually penetrated the deceased by inserting burning cigarettes into her vagina as well as by inserting her fingers into the deceased’s vagina. During these instances accused 1 would also rub chillies onto the inside of the deceased’s vagina.”
The grandmother would also allegedly repeatedly tie the child to the bed.
According to the indictment, the mother slapped and pushed the deceased child to the floor on November 17, 2014, before ordering her youngest daughter, a toddler, aged two, to hit her older sibling with a ruler.
The abuse then continued throughout the next day, allegedly at the hands of the grandmother. The deceased was thrown to the floor and slapped across her mouth so badly that she started to bleed.
The child was again then tied to the bed and the following day on November 19, the grandmother is alleged to have burnt the child on the vagina with a cigarette and pinched her ears.
Later that night the child died.
The case against the two women was postponed by Magistrate CM Mkhalipi to December 8 when they made their first appearance in the Durban High Court.
On Thursday, the court heard that their pro bono lawyer Vijay Suvakumar had withdrawn from the case and that the master of the High Court had appointed new counsel for the mother and legal aid counsel was to be appointed for the grandmother.
At previous court appearances there had been questions over the two women’s mental health status, but after a stay at the Fort Napier mental facility, they were both determined fit to stand trial.
Suvakumar had previously argued that the mother had “child like tendencies” as a result of a 2004 car accident when she sustained a head injury.
Her three other children were taken to a place of safety following their sibling’s death.
Unlike previous appearances, there were no protesters outside the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
* Comments on this story have been closed to protect the minors mentioned.
Sources: Court Statements