Emotional homecoming for SA toddler after 3 years behind bars with mom

2016-04-14 08:28
The 3-year old boy wearing a hoody who was born to a South African mother in a Mozambique prison arrives in Johannesburg. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

The 3-year old boy wearing a hoody who was born to a South African mother in a Mozambique prison arrives in Johannesburg. (Wim Pretorius, News24)

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Johannesburg - A 3-year-old boy was on Wednesday reunited with his family in South Africa after spending three years in a Mozambican jail with his mother.

His South African mother was jailed for drug trafficking in 2013.

The Department of Social Development said the boy had been living with his mother in a Mozambican prison since she was jailed. He was born while his mother was incarcerated.

She is serving a 12-year sentence.

The boy was received by the Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini at OR Tambo International Airport along with the boy's foster parents.

"The boy was born to a South African mother in a Mozambique prison and is not accustomed to life outside of prison so he will need good care," Conny Nxumalo, Deputy Director General of Welfare Services for the National Department of Social Development said.

The mother requested that the boy, who may not be identified, be placed in the care of her extended family living in the Free State.

According to Mozambican law, children are not allowed to stay with their imprisoned mothers.

In a video recording by the department which was posted on its Facebook page, the child's grandfather said he was happy that the child could finally have a normal life.

"I feel so proud. What has happened feels like a dream to me," he said, adding that they had been trying hard to get the child to return home.

"So I feel like even his mother... will know and understand that her child is now in safe hands."

South Africa's Children’s Act 38 of 2005 requires the country to repatriate children living in distress in foreign countries.

According to Nxumalo, 18 children have already been repatriated back to the country between 2005 and 2015.

Read more on:    mozambique  |  johannesburg  |  prisons

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