Thumeka Tuswa promised her two small daughters a better life when she snatched them from their grandparents’ home in a rural Eastern Cape village and took them to the Western Cape in 2012.
A year later her five-year-old daughter, Lisheko, was kicked to death, allegedly by Tuswa and her boyfriend, Lulamile Qondani.
Qondani is also charged with raping the child.
The two have been charged with the murder.
Tuswa’s surviving daughter, aged 9, is set to testify against her when she is tried in April.
Qondani also faces a rape charge.
The two appeared in the Cape Town High Court on Friday.
According to court papers, Tuswa moved to Robertson with her daughters in 2012, where she set up home with Qondani.
They left the children in care of a neighbour while they went to work during the day.
On January 31, 2013, Qondani allegedly went to fetch the children from the neighbour’s house, and that was the last time Lisheko was seen alive.
“When [Tuswa] returned home on the evening of 31 January 2013, the deceased was not well and died during the night,” the court documents read.
“The state alleges that the accused are guilty of unlawfully and intentionally killing Lisheko Tuswa by kicking her with booted feet and beating her with hands. The state alleges that both accused repeatedly assaulted the deceased and killed her. It is also alleged that [Qondani] raped the deceased.”
The two were arrested after a post-mortem conducted by Dr Sonata Walraven on Lisheko’s body revealed that she died from “blunt force trauma to the abdomen”. Walraven also found the “multiple injuries” on her body “consistent with non-accidental injury syndrome”.
Tuswa and Qondani have pleaded not guilty.
A source close to the investigation said social workers placed Tuswa’s children in the care of the paternal grandparents in Mount Frere after she walked out her marriage.
If convicted, the two are likely to be imprisoned for life, while Qondani’s name could be added to the national register of sexual offenders. The case was postponed to April 13 for trial. They were remanded in custody.