Diepsloot couple accused of murdering baby appear in court

Diepsloot resident protested against the killing of two toddlers in October. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

Diepsloot resident protested against the killing of two toddlers in October. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

A Diepsloot couple accused of murdering and neglecting the woman's seven-month-old baby appeared briefly in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

The case against Nokuthula Gumede (23) and her boyfriend Fernando Sidanvo (35) was postponed until November 20. They would remain in custody, said Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng.

The baby was found dead and mutilated in a shack in Diepsloot, northern Johannesburg, on Sunday morning. Police spokesperson Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said on Monday that rats bit off the baby's foot while it was left alone in a shack.

Gumede was arrested in a Randburg tavern on Tuesday night.
Sidanvo was arrested in Diepsloot on Wednesday.

Police were still awaiting the results of the postmortem to definitively determine the cause of death.

Mofokeng at the time said the baby's mother was missing and had still not been located by Monday morning, contrary to media reports that she had reported the matter to police.

Child neglect
He said the murder investigation would look into how the baby came to be left alone in the shack.

In September, a case of child neglect was registered against the baby's mother, which resulted in her two children being placed in the care of their grandmother, he said.

The mother had picked up only the seven-month-old boy from the grandmother on Saturday.

Diepsloot has been rocked by a spate of recent child killings. In October, two toddlers aged two and three were discovered in public toilets after being raped and murdered.

Hundreds of outraged residents took to the streets to protest, including mothers with children strapped to their backs who marched on a makeshift police station. Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the time pledged to step up the fight against those responsible for violence against children.

Charges against four of the five men accused of the toddler killings were dropped.

The previous month, a five-year-old girl was found murdered near her home in Diepsloot after it was believed she was raped. – Sapa

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