‘Mom driven to breaking point’
A MOTHER driven to breaking point. This is how Zinhle Maditla’s family describe the 24-year-old woman who allegedly poisoned her four children at Klarinet, Emalahleni, in Mpumalanga.
Maditla’s children Minenhle, 8, Blessing, 7, Shaniqua, 3, and 11-monthold Ethen allegedly ingested a rat poison mixed with their food on December 26 – one day after Christmas.
Speaking to The Sunday Independent, Maditla’s uncle, Kevin Balance, 36, reflected on the events leading up to the gruesome discovery. Balance said Maditla seemed her usual self a week before Christmas.
“We went out for Christmas lunch, enjoying ourselves and the kids were having fun. We slept over at her (Maditla’s) place and the next morning we returned to our place. My wife came back and Zinhle stayed behind. We then asked her where the kids were and she said they were by the father’s place. She didn’t show any sadness or tension, she was relaxed. She was in a good mood,” said Balance.
The following day the uncle returned to where Maditla shared a rented room with her kids to check on his dog. He released it from its chain and played with it.
“As dogs have more heightened senses than us humans, it kept sniffing around the door and window area. Nothing occurred to me at the time. I didn’t take notice and chained the dog. It didn’t occur to me something was terribly wrong.”
A few days later his wife called him to let him know they were planning a fun day with their kids and suggested they fetch Zinhle with her kids.
“Upon arrival, we saw a lot of flies around and wondered where that stench was coming from. When my wife arrived with the family to pick her up they didn’t find her there. They then broke the door open and found the kids had died. The youngest was just 11 months.”
Looking back at the tragedy, Balance recalled that Maditla was not happy. He believes raising the four children on her own was hard for her so she came to a point where she couldn’t take it anymore. The family said she wanted the best for her children but didn’t have the means to provide for them.
Maditla’s children did not share the same fathera and her uncle believes the children’s fathers didn’t support the unemployed young mother enough. While Maditla never spoke much about her problems, she often cried a lot.
“She used to call my wife and spoke about how she was struggling and how she felt like a failure.”
While Maditla cried out for help, the family believes they were too late to help her deal with her depression.
“She needed help. She cried out but not physically. We were too blind to see the signs. People are living with depression. We should talk about it more, make people aware of it but most importantly work towards being a support system,” said Balance.
They admitted they were initially angry with Maditla but they had since forgiven her after her court appearance. “We never went to court but we saw a video of her breaking down.
“We were deeply angry with her. But upon seeing a video of her in the dock, we see her remorse. I believe in forgiveness, everyone deserves a second chance. I believe justice must be served.”
Maditla is expected to apply for bail in the Witbank Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.
THE kids allegedly poisoned by their mom.