… No excuse to throw away babies when there are so many shelters willing to look after the little ones, Ntombela
Social development MEC Sisi Ntombela has called on the courts to impose stiffer penalties on mothers who dump babies, saying there was no need for such cruelty when it is common knowledge that there are shelters willing to take babies of parents who do not want or cannot afford to keep them.
Speaking on Saturday, outside Maitland Hotel, in central Bloemfontein, where a newly born baby had just been found dumped in a rubbish bin, Ntombela said there was simply no excuse for such inhuman behavior in an era when contraception and abortion are readily available if people do not want to have babies.
Or in the event one fails to prevent pregnancy they could easily give up the babies to her department and the many NGO-run shelters that are more than ready provide shelter to unwanted babies.
“Baby dumping is inhuman and it’s a criminal offense,” said Ntombela. “People who dump babies should be severely punished because we have called on parents that instead of dumping babies they should do the right thing and hand them over to shelters so that they can be properly looked after,” she said.
According to the police, the infant that was wrapped in a white towel was discovered by 33-year old Thabang Moeti as he was rummaging through the bins looking for recyclable stuff.
Moeti told the police he heard cries coming out of the trash can and immediately alerted the police at Thabure Satellite Police Station that is located not far away from the hotel.
The police summoned health workers who took the baby away, while Ntombela also arrived at the scene moments after.
The baby rescued on Saturday was lucky that its life was spared.
In a case of shocking cruelty, the decomposing body of a baby was on Monday discovered dumped in Bergman Square, also in Bloemfontein.
The body was discovered by a passerby, wrapped in a pink and white blanket and stuffed in a blue bag.
Nursing student, Maria Mopholi, 24, said she was on way from visiting a friend when she saw what looked like an infant’s body wrapped up in blanket.
“I got curious when I saw what looked like a body wrapped up in a blanket,” she said.
Mopholi immediately alerted the police, who have since opened an investigation into the murder of the infant.
Back at the spot outside Maitland Hotel, where Moeti’s early morning hunt helped save the life of that lucky baby, Ntombela told the small crowed that had gathered around that she was deeply saddened by the fact that despite calls by her department on people to leave their unwanted babies at children’s shelters dotted across the province some were still choosing to throw them away like trash.
She called out to pregnant women who do not want to keep their babies to bring them to her department which will arrange shelter for them.
“We will never allow or abandon these children once they are brought into our care. We will continue to render assistance as we have always done in the past,” Ntombela said.
She said her department was able to arrange foster care for and adoption of 200 children, including some that had been found dumped. Ntombela said while some people do not want children there were many more others, who were prepared to give such unwanted children a loving home.
The MEC said her department was going to have to come up with a “programme of action” to educate young women on the options they have to avoid falling pregnant when they are not yet ready to be mothers, and in the event that they end up pregnant, the various facilities that are ready to look after the unwanted babies.
“These are discussion we are going to have with young women so we can prevent dumping of children. This is a program of action my department will have to embark on in order to curb this inhuman behavior,” Ntombela said.
Teenage pregnancy, which is defined as an unintended pregnancy during adolescence, has been closely linked with baby dumping.
Many teenage mothers, especially from poor backgrounds and/or broken families, often find themselves having to shoulder the burden of raising a child alone, without support after their young boyfriends have abandoned them.
In such cases some wrongly choose what might appear an easy way out by dumping the baby.
But experts say this might even be the worst option not only because one faces criminal charges that could include murder if the baby dies — but also because of the heavy sense of guilty knowing you dumped an innocent baby, and the immense psychological trauma this causes which one might have to live with for the rest of their life.