Two young men who killed their female cousins and drowned a seven-month-old baby in a tub of boiling water have pleaded guilty to their crimes.
Eighteen-year-old Ben Ramokgatla, who was 17 at the time, and his 22-year-old co-accused, Mthunzi Ramokgatla, appeared in the high court sitting in Palm Ridge on Monday.
They pleaded guilty, giving a detailed version of the day they strangled their cousins, drowned the baby and almost killed another person who discovered the gruesome scene.
Last year December, the accused visited their grandmother’s home in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, where they met their cousins, Lerato Letswalo and Lebohang Prisca Movit.
The male pair were asked to bring food to their grandmother at her scrapyard business, they complied.
On their way, they bought and imbibed crystal meth. After the delivery, they returned to their grandmother’s house and smoked dagga.
Movit told them to go outside.
The pair said, Mthunzi flew into a rage and he strangled her “until she was motionless”.
Meanwhile, Ben ran from the violence, bursting into the bathroom that Letswalo was using, and she screamed.
“I wanted to tell her what I had just witnessed (but) she was under the impression that I perhaps wanted to rape her,” Ben’s affidavit stated.
When she pushed him out of the bathroom, he pushed back and she knocked her head against the bathroom wall, leading her to kick and scream at him to leave her alone.
He panicked when he thought neighbours would think he was trying to rape her, and that was why he strangled her.
The Ramokgatlas dumped the bodies in the bathtub, which they filled with scalding water.
Movit’s seven-month-old child, Bokamoso, was crying uncontrollably because of the commotion.
Ben said he placed the infant to the bath to drown her.
The pair then ransacked the house, hoping police would believe robbers had killed their cousins.
When another relative, Nthabiseng Letswalo, arrived at the home and saw the scene, the pair then stabbed her and beat her with a steel rod, stopping only when she feigned death.
After the plea explanation on Monday, the pair were found guilty of three counts of murder, one of attempted murder and one of robbery with aggravated circumstances.
Thembi Letswalo, the grandmother of the accused, said she could not believe that the triple murders were caused simply because the pair were high on drugs.
“I’m still confused. Why did they do this to my children? I am still waiting for the reason. I don’t believe the drugs thing,” she said.