JOHANNESBURG - Zinhle Maditla faces possible multiple life sentences after pleading guilty to premeditated murder.
The woman admitted to feeding her four children rat poison.
Maditla took the stand for the first time, to ask the court for mercy on Tuesday.
A pre-sentencing report says the 25-year-old may have been stressed about how she would take care of her children as a single and unemployed mother of four.
She had allegedly discovered the father of two of her children with another woman.
The decomposing bodies of 8-year-old Minenhle, 6-year-old Blessing, 4-year-old Shaniqua and 11-month-old Ethan were found wrapped in blankets on the 30th of December last year.
Tears began to flow when Maditla apologised to her family, her mother and the fathers of her children.
She told the court she regrets what she did. She said she can’t sleep at night because of her guilty conscience.
The state argued that Maditla had several opportunities to save the children.
“She let the children die a painful death. There are no factors presented to deviate from the normal minimum sentence of life,” said prosecutor, Ntsika Mpolweni.
Sentencing will be heard on Friday.