A KwaZulu-Natal father, who pleaded guilty to slitting his children’s throats and cutting their stomachs open, was on Friday sentenced to 60 years in prison, the National Prosecuting Authority said.
KZN NPA spokesperson Natasha Kara said Mkhonzeni Bernard Mdladla, 33, from Ladysmith was sentenced at the Madadeni High court for killing his two children, aged 4 and 5, last Monday in Klipriver, Ladysmith.
Kara said Mdladla told the court that he had been in a relationship with the children’s mother since 2011 and considered her to be his common law wife.
Kara said some time during the relationship Mdladla disclosed to the mother of his children that he had made another woman pregnant and had paid ‘damages’ for making the woman pregnant, but she was angered by this and burnt his clothes and their home, and left with the children.
“He mentioned that he attempted to reconcile with her and while she visited him, she and the children never stayed over. After some other problems between them, he discovered that she had a boyfriend.
“Mdladla said that he pleaded with her to come back to him with the children and had on occasion taken his family with him to her house. He said that on these visits he noticed that the children looked uncared for and neglected.”
Kara said on May 30, Mdladla said he was warned by the police to stop threatening the mother of his children.
“He became enraged and went to her home to discuss this as he had never threatened or intimidated her. She was not there and he told her relatives that he wanted custody of the children. They advised him that he must bring the induna [local headman] from his area to discuss the issue of custody.”
Kara said Mdladla told the court that killing the children was the solution to his problem.
“He said if they were dead, then he would have no ties to their mother or her family. He went to his home, fetched a knife and returned later that evening. He found the children asleep with their mother and grandmother. The women fled the house leaving him alone with the children.”
Kara said Mdladla stabbed each child in the stomach and slit their throats.
“He then ran off into the hills where he slept till the next day. After confessing the murder to his uncle, he handed himself over to the police.”
Advocate Mziwodumo Miza asked the court to impose a severe sentence as the accused had acted in a cruel and callous manner.
Mzila said, “The children were innocent and had nothing to do with the tension between their parents.”
Mdladla was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment for each of the murders.
National Prosecuting Authority welcomed this sentence.
Advocate Moipone Noko said, “Whilst justice has been served, it is most unfortunate that two innocent young lives had to be taken, especially by the person expected to be their protector and not [the] perpetrator.”