Free State mother detained after poisoning her three children and their father

Maphephi Alinah Mokwena, a mother from Free State has admitted to poisoning her three daughters and their father.

On Friday, the mother and the children’s aunt, Mantwa Maria Mokwena, 21, appeared before the Bethlehem Magistrates Court in Free State on three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The father, 49, and two girls, aged 14 and 10 years died of poisoning, whilst a third girl aged 11 survived.


According to police, on Wednesday morning, 22 June 2022, the deceased were served brown bean soup by Maria Mokwena before they went to school and work. 

As previously reported, the children complained of stomach pain at school and were taken to hospital where they lost their lives. Their father also fell ill while at work and was taken to hospital where he also passed away.

Free State police spokesperson, Captain Phumelelo Dhlamini on Thursday, 23 June 2022, the post-mortem revealed that the cause of death was poisoning. 

A spoon full of pinto beans. Image: Jessica Gavin

“During further investigation, the mother of the children admitted that she bought poison called Temik to poison the soup. She was arrested and detained at Bethlehem police station.

“Maphephi is remanded in custody till 30 June 2022 for formal bail application, while Mantwa is released on warning and will appear again on the same date.”

Captain Phumelelo Dhlamini

Free State Education MEC, Dr Tate Makgoe said the Department of Social Development in the province will provide counselling to the family of the deceased learners,  teachers and Utopia Farm School fellow learners.

“The department was devastated to receive news of the death of these learners. “We are  deeply saddened by these untimely deaths and wish to convey our condolences to the family who lost their children in this tragic way. 

“The mother and the aunt of the deceased learners have been arrested and will appear in Bethlehem Magistrate on Friday.” 

Tate Makgoe

ALSO READ: Free State father and his children die after consuming beans

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