The toddler Karabo Nale’s death was brutal as she had been stabbed 99 times.
Her mother’s cousin was due to appear in the Odendaalsrus Magistrate’s Court on Thursday morning, accused of murder.
The black woman, who lived under the same roof as Karabo, 3, had taken her to the shops on Friday, but did not return, according to a close relative.
When a herder discovered the infant’s body on Sunday, he also found a packet of Nik Naks and sweets next to the little girl.
Karabo’s face was covered with a jersey.
The incident took place outside Welkom in Kutlwanong, Odendaalsrus, Free State.
The preschooler had started creche this year.
Her alleged killer, 23, was arrested on Monday by members of the Odendaalsrus Crime Prevention Unit.
“Police found an Okapi knife with blood stains on it and her clothes were also covered in blood. A post-mortem report revealed that the little girl was stabbed 99 times all over her body. The motive for the killing is unknown,” said spokeswoman Molebogeng Lechesa.
She said witnesses had told the police that the relative had left with Karabo on Friday to buy sweets and cakes. “However, they never returned home,” said Lechesa.
Karabo’s mother, Nomathemba Janki, said she had left the 3-year-old and her 13-year-old sister in her relative’s care.