Cape Town – Child protection organisations have decried the murder of two Grabouw children, alleged to have been killed by their mother when she set alight a locked shack.
The woman is expected in court this week on charges of murder following the deaths of her two children, aged three and five.
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa confirmed the woman was arrested after they were called to the Waterworks informal settlement on Friday morning.
“On arrival, they discovered a shack that was locked and on fire. During the inspection of the scene, the charred bodies of two young boys aged three and five were discovered.
“As part of the police investigation into the incident, Grabouw police took witness statements and the suspect, who is the mother of the children, was subsequently arrested,” said Potelwa.
Molo Songololo director Patric Solomons said the incident was very upsetting.
“This follows several similar cases in recent months where parents; fathers, step-fathers, and boyfriends locked their children in and set alight their shacks; and a recent case of a mother who hammered her four children to death.
“The sheer horror the children must experience just before their gruesome killing is unimaginable,” said Solomons.
He attributed possible acts of violence by parents to a number of reasons including spite, revenge, or a fight with their partners.
“In cases where there are surviving siblings, these killings have lifelong consequences for them and extended family.
“The rapid incidents of these kinds of killings are alarming and there is a need for some sort of community prevention and early interventions… neighbours and other family members must be alert, monitor, intervene and report when they suspect, see or hear that children are in need of care and protection, even from their own parents,” said Solomons.
Women and child protection NGO, Ilitha Labantu, lamented the incident ahead of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence annual international campaign which kicks off on Friday.
Spokesperson Siyabulela Monakale said: “As an organisation that advocates the rights of women and children for over 33 years Ilitha Labantu is deeply concerned by the high rate of violence perpetrated on children in our society, and incidents of this nature are a harsh reminder that children are not safe in our society.
“It is a call to action for our society to increase its efforts toward ensuring the rights and dignity of children are protected.
“We also would like to appeal to our justice system to impose the harshest of sentences on those perpetrating these crimes.”