The Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, sentenced Mandla Chauke, 30, who drowned his girlfriend’s 6-month-old baby daughter in a bucket of urine, to life imprisonment.
Acting Judge Piet Pistorius, in sentencing Chauke, said the courts will not tolerate the abusers of women and children and a clear message had to be sent out that they will feel the full might of the law.
He said our country has been plagued for too long by violence against women and children.
The Mamelodi East man drowned Tebatso Choche in a bucket of urine on December 15, 2016. After placing the then healthy baby inside the bucket, he closed it tightly with a lid. He then placed a second bucket filled with water on top of it so that nobody would detect the baby.
Judge Pistorius told Chauke that his actions were cruel and inhumane.
He said the right to life was sacred and the rights of children were enshrined in our constitution. Children had a right to play in safety in our streets and at their homes.They had a right to grow up and become happy adults.
“You took that right away from this child, sir. You demonstrated no respect for human life. Children are the future of this country. They need love. It is painful for me to reflect on what potential this child had and what she could have contributed to society. She did not deserve to die in this manner,” the judge told Chauke.
He also pointed out that the baby’s mother had suffered, as her first and only born child was taken away from her.
Judge Pistorius described Chauke’s actions as horrific and heinous and he questioned how Chauke could have murdered a defenseless baby in this manner.
“You ensured that the lid was placed on the bucket tightly. You even placed a second bucket filled with water on top of it. There was no way the baby could have escaped death.”
The judge said to make matters worse, Chauke showed no remorse and he had no explanation for his actions.
Chauke persisted that he was not the killer and claimed the baby was already dead when the mother came to visit him the previous day. According to him she carried the dead baby on her back the entire day and placed the lifeless body down on the bed that night before they went to sleep.
He said it did not bother him at the time that the child was dead, as he was only interested ins sex with the mother.
But the court rejected this version and said all fingers pointed without a doubt to Chauke as the killer. The judge expressed his shock at the fact that Chauke could blame the mother for the child’s death.
The mother, Boikgontsho Choche, submitted a victim impact report to the court, in which she said she suffered from psychological trauma after the baby was discovered in the bucket.
She and her uncle made the grizzly find after she fled from Chauke’s home early in the morning after spending the night with him. She said he became abusive and she fled to obtain the help of the police. She left her sleeping baby behind.
When she came back, the shack was locked and Chauke, who was later contacted by the police, claimed he knew nothing about the baby.
Judge Pistorius said Chauke did not have any remorse for his actions and thus his chances of rehabilitation were slim.