17 March 2022

The Mpumalanga High Court sitting in Graskop has on Thursday, 17 March 2022 sentenced Fanni Poloane (31) and Keletso Sesi Maimela (32) both from Burgersfort to twenty-five imprisonment for the murder of an eighteen-month-old girl child. 

This is after the pair were convicted of murder and defeating the ends of justice. 

Keletso Sesi is the biological mother of the deceased and the two were in a relationship staying together at Ga-Madiseng Riba Cross in Lydenburg.

The court heard that during September 2019, the pair conspired and took the deceased at night to the mountains around Lydenburg. 

Upon their arrival, they immersed the victim in a bucket full of water with her head facing down until she died. 

They then threw her lifeless body in the bushes and went back to their place of residence. 

The accused parents kept on asking the whereabouts of the deceased and they could not give a proper response. 

The matter was reported to the police and they were arrested. 

An intensified search was conducted and the body was never found.

In court the accused testified against each other, Sesi Maimela told the court, Poloane forced her to kill her baby. 

Adv. Thulani Msibi led evidence of several witnesses including the testimonies of the accused family members. 

They testified that after the deceased was taken by the accused to the mountains, she was never seen again dead or alive.

The court found evidence of the state witnesses credible and the pair were convicted of premeditated murder and defeating the ends of justice.

Addressing the court for a suitable sentence Adv. Msibi said the victim died in the hands of her parents, who were supposed to care for, protect and support her, therefore a prescribed sentence of life imprisonment must be imposed. 

Judge Kgama Shai took into consideration all relevant factors. 

He said infanticide will not be tolerated in our society and the family has no closure as the body was never recovered. 

He sentenced each accused to 20 years imprisonment for murder and five years’ imprisonment for defeating the ends of justice. 

The court ordered the sentences to run concurrently, the effective sentence being 20 years direct imprisonment.

The Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Sonja Ntuli welcomed the conviction and sentence.