The 25-year-old mother who killed her four children by poisoning them has been sentenced to four life sentences by the High Court sitting in the Middelburg Magistrates’ Court for each of the murders. Zinhle Maditla was arrested on December 30, 2018, after handing herself over to the police, when the decomposing bodies of her four minors were found in a room she was renting. The mother had made a full confession of murdering her two boys and two girls, Minenhle, eight, Blessing, six, Shanique, four, and Ettiene, 11 months, by feeding
them rat poison. The mother described how on the day of the crime, she had gone to confront the father of her youngest two children for not buying them any Christmas presents. During the confrontation, she made the discovery that another woman was in his bedroom. The court further heard how, on her way home, she had noticed a stall selling rat poison. She purchased the poison and then went home where she mixed it with food she had prepared for herself and the children. Her testimony further explained how two hours later, the children complained of a headache and she encouraged them to sleep as she left to buy aspirin. Upon her return, she had found that her children were no longer breathing.The family broke down in court after Maditla apologised to her mother and the fathers of her children. She added that she wanted to spend the rest of her life in prison for what she had done. Her emotional family members, however, had pleaded that she be shown clemency by the court. However, the judge was clearly not moved and prescribed the heavypenalty.