According to a national homicide study by the SA Medical Research Council, a total of 1 018 child homicides were recorded across the country in 2009 alone, with 454 being fatal child abuse cases.
Here are six gruesome child abuse and murder cases that shocked South Africa in 2014:
In July, four-year-old Taegrin Morris was killed after being dragged outside a car for more than 8km after a hijacking in Reiger Park.
Three hijackers approached the car Taegrin’s family were travelling in and ordered his mother and sister out of the vehicle.
The hijackers got in the car and drove away, dragging the boy – who was trapped in his seat belt – from Reiger Park to Boksburg. The car was later found abandoned.
No arrests were made for months following the incident, much to the anger of the Reiger Park community.
This despite the family reportedly fingering a suspect following an identity parade and police offering a R100 000 cash reward for the arrests of Taegrin’s murderers.
However; in November, Thamsanqa Twala, was arrested and later appeared in the Boksburg Magistrates’ Court for his alleged role in the toddler’s murder.
Charges against Twala were later withdrawn by the court during an expected bail application.
On the morning of November 25, residents of Havenside, Chatsworth in Durban, were rocked by the murder of two-year-old Jamie Faith Naidoo (Baby Jamie).
Baby Jamie was found dead in her home and, according to residents, had been abused for quite some time, allegedly at the hands of her grandmother and mother.
The toddler reportedly had injuries that included a dislocated knee, finger nails that seemed to have been yanked out, a torn ear and cigarette burns all over her body.
Baby Jamie’s mother and grandmother were arrested and later appeared in court, where it was heard that the little girl had also been raped.
Neighbours claimed to have called Childline and Child Welfare Chatsworth on numerous occasions to report the alleged continuous abuse of Baby Jamie, but to no avail.
Both organisations denied these claims.
Childline said they had no record of Baby Jamie’s case while Child Welfare Chatsworth said regular visits were conducted at Baby Jamie’s home, and no visible injuries or signs of neglect were prevalent.
Both the mother and grandmother were remanded in custody at the Westville Police Station pending a psychiatric evaluation and are expected to appear again on January 7 next year.
Cuburne van Wyk
Three-year-old Reiger Park toddler Cuburne van Wyk disappeared in early August while playing outside with his siblings.
Three days later, a passer-by found the boy’s body at a mine dump in Reiger Park.
According to police, Cuburne’s head had been crushed and he had burn wounds on his body.
Several days later 25-year-old Katlego ‘Chicken’ Mpoku – who police say was the last person to be seen with the child before the toddler’s disappearance – was arrested by Metro Police in Germiston.
Mpoku was charged with kidnapping and murdering the toddler and has appeared in court on numerous occasions in the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court.
Senior public prosecutor Henk Strydom said the possibility of sexual assault was being investigated.
After several postponements, Mpoku is set to appear again in January next year.
Earlier in the year, Tania Clarence, a South African woman living in England was arrested for the murder of her three mentally challenged children.
Clarence reportedly smothered her three children – who suffered from type 2 Spinal muscular atrophy – with a nappy as they slept before attempting to commit suicide at her London home.
She reportedly told medics that she did not want to see her children’s suffering prolonged and “if they were in South Africa, they would go to the top of a mountain and die”.
The incident took place while the 43-year-old former graphic designer’s husband had taken their eight-year-old daughter, who is not disabled, on a holiday to South Africa.
Clarence was left alone with with her other children, having given their nanny a day off.
She was later declared mentally unfit and given a hospital order by the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales.
Early in the year, Conradie and Linda Bruyns were arrested and appeared in court for the assault and attempted murder of a two-year-old girl known as Baby L.
In January, Baby L was rushed to Steve Biko Academic Hospital with a fractured skull, a punctured pancreas and kidney, as well as bleeding on the brain.
The two were arrested after a doctor at the hospital contacted the police after treating the child for broken ribs, severe bruising, and suspected brain damage, among other injuries.
The alleged abuse left the child in a vegetative state.
During the pair’s numerous court appearances, it was heard how Baby L had suffered brain damage and how the domestic worker had raised concerns about the child’s well-being.
Furthermore, Conradie’s family also told the court that the man had a history of violent behaviour.
The case is still ongoing, with the couple expected to appear again in 2015.
‘Monster Maid’ Jolly Tumuhiirwe
In December, Ugandan nanny Jolly Tumuhiirwe was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to the assault of an 18-month-old baby.
22-year-old Tumuhiirwe was arrested after a shocking video of her assaulting the baby went viral.
In the video, Tumuhiirwe is seen trying to force feed the child, then slapping her.
*Warning: This video is not suitable for sensitive viewers
When the girl vomits, Tumuhiirwe throws her face-down onto the floor, and proceeds to hit her with a torch and kick her in the head.
At one point, the babysitter is seen stepping on the child with her full weight.
After the video footage went viral, Tumuhiirwe apologised to the parents of the child and to the general public, saying she did not intend to kill the baby.
The child minder had pleaded guilty to torture charges but the case was transferred to the Chief Magistrates’ Court, where she also pleaded guilty to the assault charges reported.