Police arrest abandoned baby’s 15-year-old mom

2008-05-01 00:00

A-15-year-old mother was arrested yesterday for dumping her one-year-old baby girl in the bush in Cramond outside Pietermaritzburg.

The young mother, whose name is known to The Witness, is to appear in court next week to face charges of neglecting and abusing her baby. It is not clear whether she will appear at the New Hanover Magistrate’s Court, since the case has been transferred to the Pietermaritzburg Child Protection Unit.

The baby, whose real name is Thembile (Hope), was found by residents of Thokoza low-cost housing while lying drenched and shivering in the bush on Sunday afternoon.

Police, who later took her to a district surgeon, named her Sinethemba (We hope). She was referred to Northdale Hospital where she was admitted and treated for kwashiorkor, bronchitis and a rash.

Constable Zama Ndabezitha of Cramond Police Station said local people played a big role in the arrest of the mother.

“A group of women in Thokoza phoned the police. She was trying to evade the arrest. The women kept her [until] we arrived to arrest her.

“She left her Cramond home with the baby last week to go to her new boyfriend’s house. The boyfriend demanded that she get rid of the child if she wanted to live with him. But he broke up with her after hearing that she dumped the baby,” said Ndabezitha.

Ndabezitha said police are still trying to establish the age of the baby’s father. If he is older than 16 he might be charged with statutory rape.

Thembile’s aunt said the baby’s father is 17 years old. He broke up with her mother after refusing responsibility for her pregnancy.

“The new boyfriend is 25 and he owns a low-cost house. This is our baby, we are going to raise her. We were very shocked when we saw her picture [in a police poster] on the wall,” said the baby’s aunt.

bhans@witness.co.za

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