The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) has condemned recent reports of babies being dumped in the province.
This comes after the body of a newborn baby was found in the Cape Town CBD on Wednesday, 23 February along Plein Street. Reports at the time suggested that the baby was allegedly thrown from a vehicle.
According to the provincial Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, her department condemns such acts in the strongest terms and wants to alert the public that dumping a baby is a serious criminal offence.
“We understand that often the circumstances which lead to mothers dumping their babies can be complex, however, it is illegal.
“We appeal to all expectant mothers who are unable to take care of their babies to seek assistance either at any clinic or to approach their nearest Department of Social Development (DSD) local office or a Child Designated Non-Profit Organisation to speak to a social worker who may be able to assist with information about options suitable to the individual’s circumstances,” Minister Fernandez said.
DSD’s figures indicated the following:
- April 2019 – March 2020 (47)
- April 2020 – March 2021 (24)
- April 2021 – December 2021 (26) – 3 Quarters
Fernandez further mentioned that it is important to note that not all of these abandonments are necessarily babies abandoned, for example, left on a field or in bins etc.
“These figures also include children abandoned by alternate caregivers such as a grandparent, foster parents. When a case of child abandonment is reported to a child protection organisation, the child protection protocol is activated, and the matter is assigned to a designated social worker for further investigation,” Fernandez added.
Meanwhile, DSD is looking to recruit ‘safety parents’ to look after babies that are in need of temporary safe care. Furthermore, temporary safe care is an emergency measure that can be used by social workers or police officials where they believe, on reasonable grounds, that the child is in immediate danger.
“I would like to appeal for people to sign up as safety parents. We have seen an increased need for child protection services. This is a great way for community members to partner with us and is part of protecting our children,” Fernandez said.
- Department of Social Development: 0800 220 250
- Gender-Based Violence Command Center: 0800 428 428
- SAPS: 10111
- Childline: 116