Toddlers ‘locked in cupboard’

2015-10-03 12:00

Pietermaritzburg - The parents of a two-year-old boy have opened a case of suffocation against a Pietermaritzburg crèche assistant.

This after allegations that their son and other children were locked in a cupboard at the crèche for “most of a day” this week.

Speaking to Weekend Witness yesterday, the mother of the toddler said they are “shell-shocked” after they discovered their son and other children were allegedly continuously abused while in the care of the crèche.

The parents said another employee at the crèche, situated in an upmarket suburb, approached them yesterday with allegations that their toddler son and an unknown number of other children were locked in a cupboard for hours.

The parents cannot be identified to protect the identities of their children. The employee alleged that the two-year-old boy and other children were “stuffed” into a cupboard by another female employee at the crèche on Thursday.

“My son is so traumatised. We had no idea what was going on until the other employee told us,” said the mother of the child.

She said that her seven-year-old daughter also attended the crèche during the school holidays and only spoke of the recurring incidents once the other employee approached her parents.

“My daughter was threatened and told not to say anything to anyone. When the other employee came to tell us what was going on, we heard more stories and realised that this has been happening for a long time,” said the mother.

Police spokesperson Constable Mtokozisi Ngobese confirmed a case of suffocation had been opened at the Alexandra Police Station yesterday.

“The lady who opened the case is alleging that similar incidents have been recurring for a long time,” said Ngobese. He said that no arrests have been made yet and police are investigating the matter.

The Bobbi Bear Foundation, a human rights organisation specialising in abuse against children, condemned the alleged abuse.

“I am absolutely appalled at this incident. There is absolute war on children out there and this is only the tip of the iceberg,” said founder Jackie Branfield.

She said parents are too trusting when it comes to their children and proper checks always need to be done before enrolling children in care facilities.

“If we pay peanuts then we get monkeys. I understand money is tight but these are our children and no amount of money should be spared for their care. We have to be more careful.

“This is preposterous and the full force of the law needs to be brought down on this woman,” added Branfield.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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