Killer mum to know her fate

Rehitile Katlego Matjane shot and killed her two sons, aged two and six, at a plot in Hammanskraal. PICTURE: ROBERT TLAPU

A PRETORIA mother who killed her two children after she claimed to have taken medication will know this morning whether she will be given bail pending sentencing. Yesterday, Katlego Matjane, 34, asked the court, through her lawyer, to consider her circumstances when deciding if she should go to prison while waiting to be sentenced.

Defence advocate Piet Pistorius said the couple had a 10-month-old daughter, Maxime, who was still being breast-fed by her mother and it would not be fair if she were to be separated from her. Her husband, Maxwell Matjane, was emotional when asked about the relationship between his wife and their daughter. “They have a close relationship and they have bonded a lot.

The daughter is only responsive to her. She doesn’t even like relatives, she is only attached to her mother. It would be devastating for the child and my wife if they were to be separated,” he said. The state, however, opposed bail, saying she was a flight risk, was suicidal and there was a possibility that she may kill this baby as well. North Gauteng High Court judge Hans Fabricius on Tuesday found Matjane guilty of premeditated murder.

Matjane killed her two sons, Alvaro, two, and Keyondre, six, at a small plot in Hammanskraal on April 17, 2015. Fabricius said it was unlikely that she had shot her children as a result of the side effects of medication. She had blamed her behaviour on a host of painkillers she had been taking for migraines and menstrual pain for five days leading up to the shooting.

Matjane had no recollection of the shooting incident and would never intentionally hurt her children. The medication included Symbicord turbohaler, which belonged to one of her children, and Mypaid Forte, Migril and Empacod. She said she had also had a glass of wine during lunch, Red Bull and several sport supplements.

The medication varied from mostly schedule two substances (available over the counter) and a few schedule three substances, for which a prescription was necessary, the court was told. Fabricius noted that the mother’s account of what had happened had steadily changed over the course of the trial in order to coincide with her defence. During the trial, a psychiatrist from Weskoppies said Matjane acted rationally throughout the day up to a few minutes before pulling the trigger when, according to her, she could not remember anything.

She was assessed in 2015 shortly after her arrest after a magistrate referred her for a 30-day evaluation to ascertain her mental status. Meanwhile, Poppie van der Merwe’s mother and stepfather yesterday were found guilty of her murder. Poppie, three, died after being abused by her mother and stepfather in October last year. Poppie’s body was covered with bruises, but she had died of a brain injury. The accused were blaming each other for the child’s death. The trial was postponed to February 28, for presentencing reports.

-Nondumiso Zwane