Mawanda Nokwanda Matsebula, 23, of Extension A in Barberton, was found guilty of child neglect and murder when she appeared on Monday in the Nelspruit Circuit Local Division of the Eastern Circuit District of the High Court in Mbombela, a Sapa correspondent reported.
Matsebula was arrested in October 2010 after she killed her son, Siphosethu Mhlanga.
She pleaded not guilty, blaming her Swaziland-based mother Kholiwe Mhlanga and her landlord Netty Mavuso for the child’s death.
On Monday, Judge Peter Mabuse said the child died from loss of blood that resulted from his injuries.
“Dr Gantcho Prodanov Gantchev, a State pathologist, testified that the child died from multiple injuries. He had skull and rib fractures and brain damage that he sustained during the assault,” Mabuse said.
“Either a kick or fist on the body resulted in his liver bursting, causing him to bleed to death.”
He said photos showed in court revealed that the boy’s body portrayed marks of the hitting and kicking, which according to Gantchev were not older than seven days.
“He had cracks on his limbs, indicating strength used when he was kicked. On the head, he was beaten with something or he hit something during the beating. He had bruises on the back caused by either a sjambok or string. He could not have lived for more than four hours that day on October 6,” Mabuse said.
The judge said Mavuso, the owner of the room Matsebula was renting in Barberton, testified that the accused used to lock the boy alone in the room while she was ran her salon in the area.
“The boy used to wet or relieve himself on his clothes and that was one of the reasons she kept beating him up.”
On the morning of October 6 she heard loud music from the accused’s room.
“Later, the accused called her saying the boy was vomiting. When she followed the accused to the room. She found the boy lying on the floor with a blanket next to him.”
A nurse was then called, who confirmed the boy had died.
Mabuse said Matsebula’s evidence that the boy fell from a security gate and that he arrived with the injuries from Swaziland was not admissible.
“The accused caused the death of her child. She could have foreseen her conduct would result in the boy dying but she continued. The court finds her guilty on count one, which is murder, and count two which is child neglect,” he said.
The judge postponed the case to January 19 for a pre-sentencing report.