Man arrested after allegedly throwing baby from bridge

A Durban man has been charged with murder after he allegedly hurled a nine-month-old baby girl from a bridge on Sunday.

The man is also accused of setting alight several shacks at the Palmiet Road informal settlement.

Siphesihle Zondi, 22, who lost her only child Lerato, was in shock when the DFA’s sister publication the Daily News interviewed her but wanted to warn others about being in an abusive relationship.

Lerato was only nine months old. Zondi said she had broken up with her boyfriend, who cannot be named, two months ago but he kept requesting to meet her via several messages on Facebook.

Siphesihle Zondi and her sister Nokukhanya Majola. Picture: Zainul Dawood

Just after midnight on Saturday, he knocked on her door and when she answered he allegedly kicked the door open and forced himself in. Zondi said there was a heated argument and during the fracas her sister, Nokukhanya Majola, fearing for her safety, took Lerato to a nearby shack.

The accused allegedly went to the shacks which were about 50 metres from Zondi’s home and set one of them alight in an attempt to get the occupant to come outside to see who had his child. The fire spread and destroyed 10 other shacks.

In the mayhem, the accused was allegedly seen grabbing the baby and fleeing. The community was informed and, after searching, found him in the vicinity and they allegedly assaulted him while questioning him on the whereabouts of the baby.

When the police arrived on the scene, he pleaded for his life and allegedly showed officers where he had thrown the child off the Palmiet Road river bridge.

A nine-month-old baby was thrown off the Palmiet River bridge in Clare Estate. Picture: Zainul Dawood

Zondi said that a week ago she went to the Durban Magistrate’s Court where she sought a protection order and a letter of demand for her boyfriend, the accused, to return two of her phones and also for him to pay child support.

Zondi said he wanted a paternity test done before he would pay child support. The accused said he was not going to support a child that he was not sure was his.

Following the fire allegedly started by the man, shack dweller Nonkonzo Ntongazane said she lost everything. She does not have a place to stay. It was something they had nothing to do with, she said.

She said was woken by neighbours screaming at about midnight to get out of the shack, as the fire had spread.

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Ten shacks were apparently set alight. Picture: Zainul Dawood

A community member, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of his life, said such people were not allowed to live in the community because it was evident that he was “an animal for committing such a selfish act”.

He said the accused involved people who had nothing to do with the dispute and the worst was he allegedly took a life.

“We do not need to take our anger out in that manner.”

He would like social services to come to the community to deal with people’s issues.

Sydenham police have opened a case of arson and murder.

A nine-month-old baby was thrown off the Palmiet River bridge in Clare Estate. Picture: Zainul Dawood
A nine-month-old baby was thrown off the Palmiet River bridge in Clare Estate. Picture: Zainul Dawood

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