Police in Mpumalanga, South Africa, have arrested a woman for intentionally setting her house on fire, killing her seven-month-old child.
Police said the 28-year-old woman from Vosman, near Witbank, set her house on fire after a violent argument with her husband, who left after the confrontation.
The incident happened around 3:am on Sunday morning, August 27, 2023.
Outraged members of the community tried to take matters into their own hands by unleashing mob justice on the woman, but the police came to her rescue, arrested her and shielding her from harm from community members.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said they were investigating a case of murder after the seven-month-old infant’s charred remains were found in the rubble after the fire was extinguished.
Police said the woman “was somehow rescued” from the burning dwelling.
“Preliminary investigations by the police revealed that earlier on, the child’s mother and her husband had a heated argument which turned violent,” said Mohlala.
“The husband then left the premises, and it was during this time when she allegedly torched the shack, although she was whisked away from the raging flames by some members of the public,” said Mohlala.
Police said the Emergency Services were alerted about a shack that was on fire at Marikana in Extension 16.
Mohlala said it was alleged that the woman was under the influence of alcohol, but this would form part of the police investigation.
“After police conducted their investigations, they arrested the woman for murder,” said Mohlala.
The woman is expected to appear before the Emalahleni Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, August 29, on murder charges.
The Mpumalanga Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, has condemned the incident, describing it as heartless.
“It is the responsibility of parents to protect children, rather than to use them as either weapons or shields during fights. We really urge community members to seek professional help from social workers when they are confronted with social challenges, but never to resort to violence at the expense of children,” said Manamela.