Durban – The aunt of “Baby X” says she witnessed first-hand the abuse the child suffered – and used a rag doll to demonstrate how the 3-year-old’s head was repeatedly banged against the floor by her gran.
The little girl died in November 2014, allegedly after being given constant beatings by both her gran and her mother, both of whom are now standing trial before Judge Mohini Moodley in the Durban High Court for her murder.
They face various other charges relating to allegations that they physically and sexually abused her older brother and sister.
The two women have pleaded not guilty to all 17 charges.
The mom has denied anything other than a few “normal” spankings for disciplinary reasons. The gran has elected to remain silent although, in a statement she gave to a police officer soon after her arrest – which has been handed in to court – she admitted abusing the toddler and tying her to the bed.
The evidence of the siblings, who are 12 and 9, is being heard in camera to protect their identity and because of the nature of their evidence, but the aunt’s evidence was heard in open court on Thursday.
She said Baby X’s mother was her sister, older than her by six years, and at various times they had both lived at home with their mother in her Chatsworth home.
Of the abuse of Baby X, she said: “These were not normal beatings.”
She said she warned her mother “that she was going to die”.
She said it appeared that both her sister (who apart from the older children, had another child after Baby X) and her mother had issues with the baby, although she did not know why.
“My sister loved them when they were born, but when the next one came along, she would lose interest. A bit like a child with a toy.”
She said she personally saw her sister hit Baby X with a sandal and once saw her trip her.
“She also used to shout and swear at her … But I mostly saw my mom doing it. She didn’t like her at all.
“She would get angry because the baby would go to the toilet on the floor.
“I once heard her (the baby) screaming and I went into the kitchen. My mother was leaning over her, holding her by the shoulders and banging her head against the floor.”
She said if she tried to intervene, her sister and mother would shout at her and tell her to leave and stop interfering.
They had said the same thing to another relative who complained about the fact that the baby was tied with both hands to her bed “because she was touching her private parts”.
She had also witnessed her mother putting chilli powder in the little girl’s nappy.
“She would cry so hard. I can imagine how it burnt her. I didn’t discuss it with my mom. I was too scared,” she said.
She has yet to be cross-examined.
The trial is continuing.