Tebogo Msimanga |
A couple appeared before the Klerksdorp Magistrates’ Court on a charge of murder following the death of their four-month-old baby who allegedly died of complications of malnutrition.
Seun Joubert (44) and Isabelle Francis (35), from Alabama near Klerksdorp in North West Province, are said to have stayed together for 15 years and have two boys aged 2 and 5 and two girls aged 8 and 13. It is alleged that in May 2021, Francis was arrested for assaulting her two-year-old boy but was later released as she was at that time breastfeeding the deceased who was born on 24 April 2021.
North West National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)Spokesperson Henry Mamothame said the police investigations into this assault led them to a discovery of the four-month-old baby who died on 13 August 2021 in Klerksdorp hospital. “Police reported the incident to the NW Department of Social Development for social workers to intervene. The intervention led to four of the kids being placed under the care of their maternal grandmother.”
In September 2021, Francis was arrested again for assaulting her 13-year-old daughter at her mother’s house. She allegedly hit her with clenched fists, kicked her before throwing her on the ground and stomping her afterwards. She went on to assault her mother.
A report received from the social worker indicates that on 09 August 2021 when he took some groceries to the house of the accused, he found the two-year-old boy in a bad state of health, with sores all over his face.
“He then went back the following day and to his shock, the couple had left the four-month-old baby by herself, lying on the bed without a blanket. He alleges the baby looked emaciated. He then rushed to collect his wife to assist him with the baby before taking her home with them.”
“On 10 August 2021, the social worker and his wife took the baby to Klerksdorp hospital where she was immediately admitted. “She sadly died three days later and the attending paediatrician confirmed that she died of complications of malnutrition as she was not fed adequately.”added Mamothame.
Police investigations are continuing on the matter and two of the children will be assessed by forensic social workers. The couple was denied bail and they will remain in police custody until the completion of the trial. The case is postponed to 17 January 2022 for further investigations.