Zinhle Maditla, the woman found guilty of murdering her four children in Klarinet, eMalaheni in Mpumalanga, has told the High Court in Middelburg she regretted feeding them poison when she realised they were no longer breathing.
Speaking while under cross-examination on Tuesday, Maditla detailed what happened on December 27 when she killed them.
She told the court she had fed the children - two girls, aged four and eight, and two boys, aged seven years and 11 months - bread that she had laced with rat poison and said an hour later, after they had eaten the bread, one child collapsed while playing with other kids outside.
Another child complained about having a severe headache.
"I went to the shop to buy her Disprin [headache tablet] and found them all asleep in the room when I came back," said Maditla.
"I tried to wake them up but realised they were no longer breathing. I locked the room and went out to drink alcohol and came back in the early hours of the following day. I regretted what I had done. I sat with them, hoping that they would wake up. I saw a whitish liquid coming out of their mouths and cleaned them with a wet cloth."
Maditla told the court she had felt the children's bodies getting cold and decided to cover them with a blanket.
Mpumalanga mom found guilty of murdering her 4 children
"I have to be punished according to the manner in which I did this thing," said Maditla.
"I really apologise to my family, especially my mother [Beulah Martin]. I also apologise to all the fathers of my dead children."
Maditla then broke down and cried hysterically, leading Judge Mphahlele to adjourn the case to allow her to compose herself.
Maditla was arrested on December 30 last year after she handed herself over at the Vosman police station. This was shortly after the decomposed bodies of her children were found in her rented room.
Judge Mphahlele postponed the case to Friday, September 20 for sentencing.