The exact motive for subjecting a toddler to such unspeakable treatment is yet to be determined.

A  West Rand couple accused of killing their one-day-old baby on Thursday admitted they were aware that the child would die when they put him in a plastic bag and placed him in a microwave for hours.

The accused Michael Pule Mathibe, 26, and Nkhala Ntshane, 31, stand accused of murder in the South Gauteng high court in Johannesburg. They allegedly killed their son a year ago. The two have pleaded guilty to the crime.

Ntshane gave birth to a baby boy at home on the night of December 3 last year. She bathed and breastfed the baby before the couple went to bed with the child who was alive at the time.

The next day, the couple went to a traditional healer who had initially given them muthi to abort the baby to report that the muthi did not work as the baby was born alive.

The two later decided to suffocate the child by putting him in a plastic bag and leaving him in a closed microwave for several hours. When the two checked on the baby hours later, they found that he had died.

They then dug up a shallow grave inside Ntshane’ shack and buried the child. The two continued to live in the shack for seven months until July 2018 when Mathibe told his brother about the incident. Mathibe’s family then called the police.