Parents avoid life imprisonment after drowning infant and dumping body on mountain

Parents avoid life imprisonment after drowning infant and dumping body on mountain

The Mpumalanga High Court, sitting at Graskop, sentenced parents, Fanni Poloane, 31, and Keletso Sesi Maimela, 32, to 20 years direct imprisonment for murdering an 18-month-old girl, on Thursday, 17 March.


National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson, Monica Nyuswa, said Maimela is the biological mother of the dead child and she was in a relationship with Poloane.

Both the accused are from Burgersfort but they were living in Ga-Madiseng Riba Cross in Lydenburg at the time of the offence.

“The court heard that during September 2019, the pair conspired and took the deceased at night to the mountains around Lydenburg.

“Upon their arrival, they immersed the victim in a bucket full of water with her head facing down until she died,” said Nyuswa.

The accused then dumped the infant’s body in the bushes and returned home. Later, the parents of the accused questioned them about the whereabouts of the child and they could not provide an adequate answer.

Eventually, the matter was reported to the police and an intense search was launched but the child’s body was never found.


In court, the pair turned on each other. Maimela recounted how Poloane forced her to kill her baby.

State Advocate Thulani Msibi also led evidence from several witnesses, including family members, who testified that the child was never seen again after she was taken to the mountains by her parents.

The NPA said the court was satisfied with the credible testimonies made by the State’s witnesses and the pair of accused were convicted and sentenced for premeditated murder and defeating the ends of justice.

Advocate Msibi pushed for a life sentence for both the accused and said the deceased was killed by her parents who were supposed to protect and support her.

Judge Kgama Shai, however, sentenced each to 20 years imprisonment for murder and five for defeating the ends of justice. The sentences will run concurrently, meaning that they will effectively spend 20 years behind bars.

Judge Shai said infanticide will not be tolerated in society and remarked that the family has no closure because the body was not found.