Cape father jailed for son's murder

Cape Town - A father who tried to suffocate his toddler son, then buried him alive in a hole under his bed, was jailed for 28 years on Monday.

Zolani Malanga, 31, was sentenced in the Western Cape High Court in plea-bargain proceedings before Judge President John Hlophe.

The sentence was negotiated between State Advocate Jacqueline Sibiya and Legal Aid defence counsel Morné Calitz.

Hlophe warned Malanga that plea-bargain sentences were not appealable and that he should ignore the advice of "those wise lawyers you will encounter in prison".

Malanga had broken up with the boy's mother and had gone to live in a shack while the boy stayed with her.

In January, Malanga fetched the boy from the mother's home, pretending that he wished to buy his son some items at a nearby shop.

Malanga's intention was in fact to kill the boy.

Instead of taking the boy to the shop, Malanga took him to his shack where he tried to suffocate him, then buried him alive in a shallow hole in the shack.

In the plea-bargain document, Malanga adds: "I dug a hole inside my shack and placed the boy in the hole while he was still alive.

"I covered the hole again and placed a mat as well as my bed on top of the hole to conceal it."

Soon afterwards Malanga's uncle inquired about the boy and Malanga told him what had happened.

The prosecutor said Malanga had killed his own son "in a cruel and gruesome manner".

To have buried the toddler alive was the worst cruel action imaginable and what made it much worse was that this was done by his own father, who was expected to protect him, the prosecutor said.