A woman from Penhalonga who ill-treated her sister’s two children by forcing them to burn themselves with hot molten plastic and to eat their own waste has been sentenced to 24 months imprisonment by a magistrate.
Melody Zvevanwe (33) of Chakonda Farm appeared before Mutare magistrate, Rumbidzai Kabasa presided over the matter, while public prosecutor, Tafadzwa Chiwanza, represented the State.
Zvevanwe was convicted on both counts of ill-treatment or neglecting young persons as defined in Section 7 (i) of the Children’s Act, Chapter 5:06.
The magistrate suspended six months on condition of good behaviour which means Zvevanwe will serve an effective 18 months in prison.
She denied both the charges but was convicted after a full trial due to the overwhelming evidence that was produced in court.
Chiwanza told the court that Zvevanwe had been staying with her niece and nephew, aged 11 and 5 respectively, at Chakonda Farm since early last year.
Her elder sister, the children’s mother, works and resides in South Africa.
Zvevanwe allegedly routinely beat the two children with a whip and a cooking stick for no reason.
On one occasion, Zvevanwe reportedly burnt her niece on her back, stomach and hands with hot molten plastic.
She then burnt her nephew with the same plastic on his tongue and right hand. Said Chiwanza:
She used to pull both children’s tongues using a pair of pliers as punishment. She ordered them to spend the whole day working hard without eating anything.
Sometime in November, she ordered her niece to excrete in a tin and then forced her to eat all her waste while she watched. The child ate all her waste after she had been threatened with death.
The matter came to light after a tip-off was made to the police by concerned neighbours.
A team of police officers and officials from the Women Affairs and Social Development Department reacted to the tip-off.
It was then found that the allegations were true.
The children were then taken to Simukai Child Protection Services for safe shelter, while Zvevanwe was subsequently arrested.