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Carletonville child assault case postponed to October

Nellie Senwametsi was found guilty of assaulting three toddlers at a Carletonville nursery school

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Sentencing proceedings in the case against a former daycare worker, who was caught on video assaulting toddlers, has been postponed to 13 October 2020.

Nellie Senwametsi appeared before the Oberholzer Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, 16 September 2020, however the matter could not go ahead as her lawyer has been placed under quarantine.

The 40-year-old woman was convicted of two counts of common assault and one of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

In disturbing video clips that went viral on social media, Senwametsi can be seen striking one toddler numerous times on the head and forcing the child to clean up after their own vomit. She is also seen hitting the child with a scrub brush. In another clip, she is seen pushing another child to the floor.

The abuse is said to have occurred in 2018.

Non-profit organisation Women and Men Against Child Abuse, which has been tracking the case, has called for the woman to be sentenced to 10 years behind bars.

“The 10 years is not something we are asking out of the blue, it is the minimum prescribed sentence as per the Criminal Procedures Act. We are not just asking this because we are outraged as an organisation and as a community, but because there is nothing we feel can be a substantive mitigation to move away from that,” said the NGO’s Ngaa Murombedzi.

Psychologist: ‘The children will suffer trauma forever’

During proceedings, the court heard testimony from clinical psychologist, Dr Denise Muller who spoke of the possible effects of the abuse on the children.

Muller said she was particularly concerned about the vomiting of the child seen on video, as it might have been as a result of a concussion (caused by the strikes on the head). She said due to the abuse, a part of the brain which increases these negative emotions in normal circumstances, had been activated.

She added that children do not forget trauma and will likely remember the abuse for the rest of their lives.

TimesLive spoke to the grandmother of one the victims, who said the child had told them about being hit at the nursery school, however they figured he was just being reprimanded for being naughty.

“He’s been reporting that the teacher had hit him on the head and his back. We took it lightly and thought he had been naughty and the teacher was merely reprimanding him,” she’s quoted as saying.