FORGIVE the mothers!
This was the plea made yesterday by speakers at the funeral of three siblings and their cousin.
When Amukelani (2)‚ Sandile (4)‚ and Nhlanhla Ngubeni (7), as well as their cousin Mbali Fihlani (5) were laid to rest yesterday, a neighbour called for their mums Bongiwe Ngubeni (31) and Nelisiwe Fihlani (28) to be released from police custody.
The four children burned to death on Sunday after their mums locked them in the house to go drinking.
A 14-year-old who was also locked in the house managed to escape.
Neighbour Nester Mdluli said: “They loved their children. What happened was a mistake.
“We plead with the government to release them so they can raise the remaining child.”
The funeral at Waterfall Cemetery in Joburg took place without the mothers as they are behind bars.
They are facing charges of culpable homicide, child abuse and child neglect.
The children’s teachers said the mums were not negligent and described the incident as a terrible accident.
Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said the department had arranged counselling for the teen who escaped the burning house.
She said it was clear the mums loved their kids.
“I felt a sense of comfort when their aunt told me the parents took out a funeral policy for their children.
“As everyone said, they raised and fed their kids.
“We were once young, too.
“They might have needed time to get away from everything and ended up making a mistake.”