Guilty verdict for Carletonville caregiver filmed beating toddlers

08 July 2020 - 13:55
By Naledi Shange
Nellie Senwametsi has been found guilty of assaulting children at a Carltonville creche.
Image: Screengrab from the original video Nellie Senwametsi has been found guilty of assaulting children at a Carltonville creche.

A caregiver who was captured on video beating children at a crèche in Carletonville has been found guilty of assault.

Nellie Senwametsi, of Ninnie's Neuron's Nursery in Gauteng, was on Wednesday found guilty of two counts of common assault and one count of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) in the Oberholzer magistrate’s court.

Several videos depicting the assaults circulated in April 2019. They were apparently captured by another person at the school. 

The footage showed children being smacked on the buttocks, slapped on their heads and hit with a wooden scrubbing brush. They were also grabbed by the collars and thrown onto a carpet.

This was the punishment meted out to children for not wanting to sleep, for crying or for not eating.

Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), a group that has been supporting Senwametsi’s victims, welcomed the verdict but was not entirely satisfied.

“We are very pleased with the conviction on one count of assault GBH, however we find the conviction of two counts of common assault unsatisfactory as they do not reflect the severity of the abuse inflicted on these children. We would have liked to see the accused convicted of three counts of assault GBH,” said the group’s Miranda Jordan.

Assault GBH often carries a heavier sentence, such as imprisonment, while common assault can be penalised with a fine.

“In light of the high levels of violence against women and children in South Africa, we want a very strong message to have been communicated by the judiciary to communities through the conviction of Senwametsi. We know from research that children who experience this amount of violence experience lasting emotional trauma, and that should be considered when dealing with perpetrators of violence against children,” the group said.

Senwametsi is out on bail. Sentencing proceedings will take place on September 10 and 11.

The WMACA said it was hoping  she would receive a 10-year prison sentence, as mandated by the minimum prescribed sentence for assault GBH on a child under the age of 16.