Woman Sentenced 15 years for burning child to death

A foster mother has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by a South African court for burning her 13-year old daughter to death in October, 2017.
Anna Mahlangu, 64, who sobbed loudly as she went down the stairs to the holding cells of the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, had claimed that she loved the child and only wanted to teach her a lesson by pouring paraffin over her and setting her ablaze.
The former domestic worker from Mamelodi claimed the teenager had stolen money from her and she simply wanted to scare her. The child died after spending a few weeks in hospital.
Judge Bert Bam said that while he took into account that Mahlangu was a first offender and her age, murder was a serious crime that was punishable.
He reiterated that the teen died viciously and he did not understand how a woman of Mahlangu’s age would reprimand a child in the manner that she did.
“Murder is a serious crime; to set somebody alight is cruel. The victim was 13 years old. She died a month and eight days after the incident.
“On a daily basis there are campaigns in our country about children who are murdered and abused and irrespective of the reason why the murder was committed; the accused testified that the victim caused her a lot of trouble, to the extent that she was taken to the police station.
“But she was referred to the social worker and had an appointment the next day; the matter of concern is what triggered the accused on that day to commit the crime,” Judge Bam asked.
The court also questioned whether Mahlangu was really remorseful or just regretful.

“The accused expressed remorse and on several occasions said she was very sorry. The question arising is whether she does have true remorse or whether she is only regretting what she did.” The judge said Mahlangu was not absolutely truthful to the court.