Blocked drain leads to grim discovery
Lunga Biyela and Stephanie Saville, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - A blocked drain led to a gruesome discovery on Sunday, when a full-term foetus was found.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said the owner of a hair salon in Theatre Lane inspected a blocked drain and discovered a foetus blocking it.
“An inquest has been opened, and police will be investigating the matter,” she said.
A bystander told The Witness he suspected the foetus had been there for about four or five hours. A photograph sent to The Witness shows the umbilical cord still attached.
“I do not think that it was born prematurely because you could see that it had been fully formed,” said Zazu Nxele. “The person who did this looks like they did not plan for it to happen this way.”
He said the baby had been found near a popular nightclub and he was concerned that the mother may not “be very far because she would not be in a very good condition”, he said.
Another shocked bystander told The Witness: “The people who gathered around were shocked at what they were seeing. Some were crying.
“The baby has been covered by police and a lot of people have left,” said Sindisiwe Mhlongo, who works near where the baby was found.
Rene Morcom, who established the Baby Safe in Pietermaritzburg, said a lack of social support for mothers was a contributing factor in the increasing phenomenon of abandoned babies.
The Baby Safe in the CBD is situated near Theatre Lane where the foetus was found. She said it had received three babies since its inception in October 2009.
Morcom said new mothers who found themselves unable to care for their babies were not being given the support they needed at hospitals.
She said one distraught mother had confided in her that when she raised doubts about her ability to care for her baby at a city hospital, and asked to leave her child there, a nurse said to her: “You [had sex], now you take the baby.”
Morcom said she was caring for 10 babies whose mothers were unable to do so and was trying to get land in Edendale to establish a Baby Safe there.
“Some mothers are unable to get to the Baby Safe in town on the corner of Langalibalele Street and George Street.
“One mother who called said she was ‘too lazy’ to bring the child to town and said: ‘You come and fetch my baby or I’ll kill it’.”
The baby safe is a ventilated box into which women can place their newborn babies anonymously instead of leaving them in bins, toilets or other isolated places where they may die. A voice call notifies members of Pietermaritzburg Pregnancy Assist (PPA) when a baby is placed in the safe.
- Call Baby Safe on 033?347?5544.