Baby hidden alone in family rondavel

Image: SUHAIB SALEM

Police have confirmed the arrest of a 34-year-old woman from Lesseyton accused of child neglect.

Spokesperson captain Lariane Jonker said the case was reported last week and the woman was taken in by law enforcement officials.

Department of social development Chris Hani District Municipality director Veronica Tizana Mpondwana said they were aware of the case which was brought to the attention of Komani Child Welfare by a tenant who rents a room in the household where the baby was found.

The tenant, who happens to be a paramedic by profession, took the child to Frontier Hospital for medical assessment and reported the matter to social workers. Informants believe that the child was born in March 2020. A social worker for the area reported the matter to the police for further investigation and soon after the mother was found and taken in for interrogation. The department will closely monitor the case until justice is served for the vulnerable child.”

Speaking to The Rep on condition of anonymity, the tenant said the child’s existence was unknown to many as he was kept in a rondavel without supervision of an adult. The tenant said she was informed by the suspect’s family members on Saturday evening about the discovery. She said two siblings who stayed in the house did not want to own up as to who the parents of the baby were.

You could tell just by looking at the child that he lacked proper nutrition. It could be that he was locked inside alone because neighbours say they did hear unusual sounds and thought it was a cat. I arrived there in November and I never heard anything because I am at work most of the time. They also liked to play loud music and no one used to enter the rondavel.”

Ward 18 councillor Unathi Mlindazwe said he was disturbed and shocked to learn that the baby was allegedly isolated and indicated that he had visited the home on Saturday to get information on what was going on. He said police were informed.

A member of the family, who spoke to The Rep, was not ready to comment on the matter.

Mpondwana who applauded the tenant for standing up and reporting to authorities indicated that at this stage, the child who was still at the hospital was “doing very well.”

We are calling on all citizens of our beautiful nation to do the same when situations like this arise,” said Mpondwana.

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