Police arrested the 25-year-old mother of the two girls – aged 5 and 8 – in connection with the double murder, neighbours said they did not believe she single-handedly committed the crime.
Pretoria – Residents of Atteridgeville have urged police to hunt down all the people involved in the horrific murder of two children who were found in an abandoned building on Friday morning, burnt beyond recognition.
While police arrested the 25-year-old mother of the two girls – aged 5 and 8 – in connection with the double murder, neighbours said they did not believe she single-handedly committed the crime.
One resident, who would not be named, said no mother could willingly and without external influence kill her own children. “It is not even possible, no matter how difficult life can be, a mother chooses to struggle with children or kill herself with them. We don’t believe she could have done this, and find it strange that she did.”
Johannes Ramaphakela, the resident who first made the gruesome discovery at the weekend, was at the scene yesterday.
He said the grandmother of the children had visited the area on Tuesday, and she told them that her daughter had come home with part of her arm partially burned on the day of the incident.
“The grandmother was hurt and grieving, and said she could not understand what had led her daughter to do this. We understood her pain and all we could do was to show her their final place and provide some form of sympathy.”
Police said they they had arrested the woman for the murder of girls, whose bodies were discovered in the building, burnt beyond recognition.
The woman was arrested at the Stadium Plaza shopping centre in Atteridgeville on Sunday.
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela said he was proud of the swift unravelling of the double murder, especially considering the the state of the bodies and how little to no information on the circumstances surrounding the gruesome deaths was forthcoming.
Mawela said following the discovery, a priority investigation unfolded because of the fact that it was a brutal crime, committed against minors. Within a few hours, they had gathered valuable information that assisted and also led to the arrest.
“It was also due to the diligent work of investigations through which it was deduced that the two children were in fact siblings, with the woman confirmed as the deceased children’s mother,” he said.
The mother appeared at the Atteridgeville Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on a charge of murder.
Selina Motshologi, who runs a daycare centre close to the abandoned house, said her 16-year-old grandson was among the first to call for help after the discovery of the bodies of the children, made after a taxi driver spotted an unfamiliar person walking in and out of the building.
The driver told nearby residents of suspicious movements and they went into the house to see if there was anything going on. They said the house had become a drug den and the scene of criminal activities.
Inside, they had found items like handbags and women’s underwear on several occasions, according to her.
Motshologi said her teenage son was so traumatised by what he saw that he was struggling to eat or sleep.
“We’re happy that the police have managed to arrest her (the mother), but they need to continue with their investigations because there is no way this woman is able to carry both those children to this place without help from someone else.”
Motshologi said her son had started cleaning up the area and building as he wanted to start a butchery and car wash before the discovery.
She said however, with the recent events they would have to get the property spiritually cleansed first before they could do anything else as such things were bad luck.
A shocked Thato Letsoalo said every woman had instincts to save and care for their children. “How can a mother carry a child for nine months, and end up killing them in such a brutal manner?
“We have so many questions and wonder what could have led her to do this after raising them for so many years.”
The case has been remanded to February 15. The mother will remain in custody until the next court appearance.