Ricochet News

'I did not want to harm my child': Father accused of throwing daughter off roof

By Afikile Lugunya - Apr 23, 2018
'I did not want to harm my child': Father accused of throwing daughter off roof

“I didn’t want to kill my child. I was just trying to get her to her mother, but everyone jumped to conclusions, and said that I wanted to kill my child,” those are the words of the 38-year-old Port Elizabeth father accused of dangling then throwing his daughter from the roof of a shack about two weeks ago.

The incident happened during tense evictions in Kwadwesi.

Mthobeki Mkhathali was then arrested for attempted murder, but the charge was provisionally changed to that of child abuse.

He again appeared before Magistrate Sivan Morahaj, at the New Brighton Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The court heard from a Social Worker’s report that Mkhathali and his wife, Vuyokazi Mkhathali, have four children and depend on government social grants. It was revealed that the couple's eldest child was living with his grandparents as a cost-cutting measure for the family.

It was also revealed that the family were renting a flat at Kwadwesi, but it was difficult to pay rent. So, out of desperation, they built a shack at Joe Slovo.

Magistrate Morahaj said he had considered the family's circumstances when he decided to release Mkhathali on free bail.

Speaking to the media and residents, who brought a petition for his release, Mkhathali said that when the Metro's officials were demolishing his shack - protected by Metro police and the South African Police Service, he got on top of the roof with his child fearing his family was becoming homeless again.

He described moements leading to the now-famous pictures of him 'throwing off' his one-year-old daughter; “I was not trying to harm my child. I was trying to prevent the police from vandalising my home; I kept telling the police not to come near me and my child as I saw that the zink of the roof was going to collapse if the man got closer.

“He kept coming and coming so to save my child from getting sliced by the zink, I threw her to her mother and the rumours started spreading that I wanted to harm my child to save a house."

His daughter, however, remains in the care of Social Workers in Uitenhage.

Mkhathali's wife said that they want their child back as she is living in a place of safety while Mkhathali will be staying with his mother.

Speaking for the Community, Lezelle Jantjies, said that they will fight till the child is back with her parents, while blaming Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality MMC of Human Settlement, Nqaba Bhanga, and their ward Councillor, Simphiwe Tyukana, for what happened on that day.

“The father never abused the child, this is a loving man who would never do anything to harm his child. We know them; they are a family with four children and they love all of them equally. We are standing behind the family,” she described.

The case was postponed to the 29 of May to allow for further investigations and for an outstanding witness.

His bail conditions allow him to make an arrangement with social workers in Uitenhage to visit his child.

The National Prosecuting Unit spokesperson, Tsepo Ndwalaza, said that they were expecting something like this to happen because the father didn’t show any signs that he would harm his own child, however he condemned child abuse.