Diepsloot man denies child murders

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Yonelisa (2) and Zandile (3) Mali, whose bodies were found in a toilet cubicle in Diepsloot on 15 October 2013.

PRETORIA - Alleged child killer Ntokozo Hadebe on Wednesday denied that he had anything to do with the gruesome murders of three Diepsloot toddlers who were found dumped in a rubbish bin and a public toilet last year.

Hadebe pleaded not guilty to 12 charges, including murder, kidnapping and six charges of rape in the North Gauteng High Court.

The State alleges Hadebe in September last year kidnapped, murdered, raped and sodomised five-year-old Anelisa Mkhonto and just a month later did the same to Yonalisa Mali (2) and her cousin Zandile (3).

He allegedly kidnapped the girls near their homes and took them to his shack, where he raped and killed them before dumping Anelisa&39;s body in a garbage bin and the bodies of the cousins in a public toilet next to the road.

Anelisa died of blunt force head and neck injuries and suffocation.

Pathologist Phalizile Phala testified that Yonelisa and Zandile had both died of strangulation.

Both girls had ligature marks around their necks, numerous lacerations, bruises and abrasions and both had severe injuries to their private parts, indicative of being penetrated both vaginally and anally.

The two-year-old child also had bite marks on her arm and her cousin had two black eyes and abrasions on her forehead.

Anelisa&39;s grandmother Bongiwe Mcubuse burst into tears during her evidence and the court had to adjourn so that she could compose herself.

She testified that her granddaughter wore a white shirt with flowers on the chest, pink shorts and pink shoes when she went missing.

Anelisa was a humble child who hardly ever spoke and was fond of playing with other children outside.

When she did not return home as usual, Mcubuse went looking for her and went to the police, who helped search for the child.

She was about to go to a newspaper&39;s office when she saw a group of refuse collectors at her door.

They asked her what her granddaughter was wearing and then told her "the child was dead in a dustbin" before leaving.

"The family is devastated and still reeling from the effect.

"We ask that the person responsible must be put away for a long time," she said.

Yonelisa&39;s mother Thokozani testified that she was pregnant when her daughter and her sister&39;s daughter went missing on October 12 last year.

Yonelisa was wearing a white top with flowers on the chest, pink tights, a diaper and peach-coloured sandals. Her cousin was wearing a green vest, denim skirt and pink-and-blue sandals.

"I don&39;t know how they found them, but the day on which they were found the police and members of the public were going up and down searching for the girls."

She was not allowed to go near the scene where the bodies were found, but was later told that they were dead.

"I was very much shocked by what I learnt... As a result of the news I immediately felt pain and I was rushed to hospital.

"This came as a shock to us. It&39;s something we did not expect and we&39;re still in pain," she said.

Two police constables testified that the lower bodies of Yonelisa and Zandile were naked when they were discovered inside a public toilet and that Anelisa was found in a dustbin with her head covered in a blue plastic bag.

Sindiswa Thembeni and Cynthia Khwalu both testified that they had seen Hadebe with two young girls at a spaza shop in Diepsloot on the day they went missing.

Hadebe had bought a beer for himself and sweets for the girls.

When Thembeni asked him if he had children, he said he was accompanying the children&39;s mother who was somewhere behind.

She never saw the mother and immediately told the police that she had seen Hadebe with two girls when she heard that two girls had gone missing over the weekend.

The trial continues before Judge Nico Coetzee.