The woman who discovered the abused child in a drug den was pictured with her.
In court, there was shock and disbelief when a South African mother was sentenced to only five years in prison for allowing gangsters to rape and abuse her two-year-old daughter, nicknamed Baby Nadia.
On Tuesday, July 20, the 27-year-old mother, who cannot be named to protect her child’s identity, and her friend, Ursula Paste, 32, were convicted in the Parow Regional Court in Cape Town.
The mother of baby Nadia was sentenced to five years in prison for child abuse and another five years in prison for child neglect, however the sentences would be served concurrently.
Paste was sentenced to five years in prison by the Magistrate, but she could be released for as little as ten months if she conducts herself.
After the child was rescued from a drug den in 2019, both were found guilty after a two-year trial. They were charged with rape, attempted murder, child abuse, and assault, but were only found guilty of child abuse, although the mother was also charged with attempted murder.
This was due to the lack of evidence linking them to the child’s injuries.
When Debbie van Rensburg, 56, and her son Cisco, 27, discovered the little girl, it was revealed that she had been raped, her genitals had been burnt, her tiny body had been bitten, and her hair had been cut.
Because the two ladies have refused to name the men who abused the child, none of them have been arrested.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Nadia’s mother stunned the court when she begged to pay a fine instead of doing jail time.
She cried in the dock as she told the magistrate that she didn’t want to go to prison but was prepared to pay a fine of up to R10 000 for her crime. She told the court that while in prison, she stopped using tik and was done with drugs.
“There are drugs there (in prison) but I told myself that it is not for me. My family will pay R5 000 or R10 000 if I am given a fine. I feel hurt that someone wants to adopt my daughter while I am here.” she said.
This Is coming after Debbie asked social workers if she could adopt and raise Baby Nadia, who is currently being kept in a children’s home.
On her part, Ursula Paste asked the court to “maak klaar” (finish) with the case, and said she could pay a R5000 fine.
The mother of five sobbed in the dock, saying her children were suffering. I want to pay a fine of R5 000 if I cannot serve a sentence outside of prison,” said Paste.
“I want the court to maak klaar with me because I am tired of this case and being strong for my family that worries about me. I have been in prison for two years and five months and I am tired. My eldest son has started drinking and smoking dagga while I am here. I agreed that I was neglectful but I didn’t see the child getting abused, and only gave that child a place to sleep.” she added.
The defence lawyer said both accused had shown remorse for their actions and asked the court to consider fining them R5 000 or sentencing them to a maximum of five years in jail.
However, the state prosecutor called for a minimum of 10 years behind bars, saying the toddler had suffered.
Reacting to the sentence, an emotional Debbie burst into tears and stormed out of the courtroom saying the justice system had failed Baby Nadia.
“I just started crying and walked out. How can the Magistrate fail a child like this?” she asked.
“I am still traumatised by what I saw and that child will never be the same again. How can he say Ursula must get parole after 10 months? That is mos nothing. Ek is baie hartseer, I can’t believe it.
Debbie said after two years of attending court, she had hoped for a harsher sentence.
“I have been going to court for more than two years on my own with nobody supporting me and so many times I had to borrow money just for taxi fare to get there but I went because I was fighting for justice for this little child. Now the Magistrate says they got five years because they are mothers and first-time offenders but who lets that happen to a child? They are monsters, not mothers,” she said.