A body of a newborn infant was found abandoned on a bridge in Komani on Monday.
The body, which was in a plastic bag, was discovered by a man crossing the Komani River via the pedestrian bridge from Owen Street at midday.
The shock discovery was made by Nkosana Maho who said he found the dead infant after he kicked the bag, curious about what was inside. “It was on the bridge. I was passing and kicked the bag to see what was inside. I had almost gone past when I noticed something that resembled a leg. Just when I was about to look, another man came along and we both looked what was inside,” said Maho.
According to Maho, the man who was with him when they made the grisly discovery approached an ambulance which was passing at the time.
A medical officer who was at the scene, but did not want to be identified, said the infant had probably been dead for less than two hours and early indications showed signs of strangulation.
The finding of the dead infant comes after The Rep reported (CHDM says ‘foetus’ found by community, only a doll’, September 25) and that community members of Mlungisi were outraged by the shocking discovery of what they claimed was a foetus near a manhole, covered in raw sewage.
Chris Hani District Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mqamelo, however, dismissed these claims at the time, stating that it was a doll.
Responding to Mqamelo’s statement, one of the residents, Bulelani Qowa of the Mlungisi Residents Crisis Committee said they were disappointed with the claim that the discovered foetus was a doll.
“We were there until 6pm when police finally arrived. A forensics team was called and I was later called to the police station to make a statement because those were, in fact, human remains.
“The foetus was discovered around noon and we had to stay there because a pig was attempting to eat it. We are very disappointed by the statement by the municipality,” said Qowa.
Responding to queries about the foetus, police spokesperson Captain Namhla Mdleleni, said a case of concealment of birth had been opened and an inquest was also opened about the abandoned infant.
Replying to confirmation of the foetus Mqamelo said: “The district was not made aware of the foetus discovered, as our technical team on duty reported differently.
“Our response at the time was by no means refuting the alleged incident, but was based on reports from the team on site. The municipality profusely apologises for any misconception in this regard as that was definitely not the intention.”
In August, Dr Tyziena Pieterse, a private social worker, spoke to The Rep about the possible motives behind child abandonment.
She said factors such as poverty and unemployment were often cited as the reasons for abandonment and certainly played a role, “particularly in a society under increasing economic pressure.”
“One, however, has to guard against simplistic explanations of a phenomenon which is much more multifaceted than mere lack of means. If lack of means was the only reason, why does the child support grant already provided by the South African Social Security system, not protect all children against abandonment?
“In many cases of infant abandonment, the mother acts against her primal instinct because she is in desperate fear of being ostracised by her own support group as a result of her unwelcome pregnancy. In the case of some teenage pregnancies, or if the baby was conceived as a result of a clandestine relationship, date rape or another undisclosed sexual violation, the mother may take the extreme step of abandoning her baby. Some mothers even do that in the hope that someone will find the infant and offer it a better life,” said Pieterse.
“It should, however, not be viewed as the easy way out. Even when not prosecuted, many of these mothers, like many mothers who opt for abortion, pay a lifelong emotional price for doing what is against their natural maternal instincts,” she concluded.