News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday June 20th 2019

Doctor testifies in trial of mother who burnt her son to death

Dr Sebastian Buster, who cared for Aphelele Nomavayi before he died, was testifying in the murder trial against Noluthando Nomavayi,who stands accused of pouring paraffin over her son and setting him alight.

A nine-year-old boy who died six weeks after he was set alight by his mother as a punishment for smoking, suffered 70% burns to his body when he was admitted to hospital, testified a doctor in the Cape High Court yesterday.

Dr Sebastian Buster, who cared for Aphelele Nomavayi in the Red Cross Children’s Hospital before he died, was testifying in the murder trial against 32-year-old Noluthando Nomavayi.

Noluthando stands accused of pouring paraffin over her son before setting him alight on May 31, 2011.

Aphelele died on July 18 last year.

Buster told presiding Judge Vincent Saldanha that Aphelele was so severely burnt that they had difficulty inserting a drip into his veins. He said Aphelele had burns over almost his entire body and at one point a life support machine had to be used to help him breathe.

“These were very deep burns and his underlying tissues were damaged. He had a breathing machine assisting him as a result of the injuries he sustained. He could not cope without the incubator and it was requested that one be placed in the ventilator.”

However, Buster said, Aphelele developed complications and subsequently died.

Asked by defense representative advocate Thabo Nogemane whether the burns Aphelele suffered could have been accidental or intentional, Buster said: “These kinds of burns are non-accidental but I cannot rule that it could not have been accidental.”

He said he believed Aphelele’s burns were not accidental as almost his entire body was burnt. Accidental burns were usually confined to one part of the body.

When asked by Nogmane what he thought had resulted in Aphelele’s burns, Buster said the medical staff were more concerned about helping him than what had happened to him.

Last week a Delft resident who lived near the Nomavayi, Noluthando Dubase, testified that she was the first person to see Aphelele after he was burnt. Dubase said she saw Aphelele being dragged down the road by his mother who was taking him to the house of a relative.

Dubase said she intervened, alerted neighbours and called the emergency services.

The trial continues this week. –Sandiso Phaliso

Tags: cape high court, Dr Sebastian Buster, murder trial, Noluthando Nomavayi

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