Nanny walks free after assaulting five-month-old child

By admin
29 May 2015

A Soweto couple feels the justice system has failed them after their nanny was handed a suspended sentence for admitting to assaulting their five-month-old infant.

The child's mother, who asked not be named, said the nanny, originally from Lesotho, appeared in the Protea Magistrate's Court on May 21 where she pleaded guilty to child abuse.

"She needs to pay," the mother said adding even six months behind bars would have been better than nothing.

'She never showed any remorse'

Asked how she found out about the abuse, the mother said she noticed her nanny was "very pretentious".

"I would be in the bedroom and she would not be playing with the baby, but as soon I would come out, she would play with him," said the woman who informed her husband of her observation.

"When I am home, she would be on the phone the whole day," said the woman.

This raised her suspicions the baby was being neglected in her absence.

The couple installed a camera in their lounge and were shocked by the footage they saw.

Shocking video

In the video, which has since been posted on YouTube, the nanny is seen fidgeting on her phone as the baby boy is placed next to her on the couch.

The child gets restless and after patting him gently, the nanny leans over and grabs the child with one arm, almost dropping him to the floor.

She places him on her lap and tries to feed him. After a few feeds, the baby spits out some of the food.

The agitated nanny smacks the baby three times on the thigh and the child bursts into tears.

Seemingly irritated, the woman flings the child on to the couch beside her.

She then roughly grabs the child again and places throws him on her lap where she pats his backside.

"Sleep, sleep," she says to the child in Sesotho.

She then lifts up the crying baby and shouts at him.

"Do you know that you're starting to irritate me? You're irritating me," she says to the baby boy.

The child continues to wail and she gives him his bottle.

As the baby's cries continue, she place him in her arms and then places him back on his lap as she starts singing.

But the child continues to cry.

The fed-up nanny yanks the crying baby on to the couch and walks away, seeming defeated by the crying infant.

'She never said sorry'

The child's parents opened a case against the nanny and she was arrested.

"When the police came, she said there was no way she would beat a five-month-old child," says the mother.

They showed the nanny the clip.

"She never said sorry. She never showed any remorse," said the mother.

Police at the Protea Glen police station confirmed a case of child abuse had been opened.

Asked how they had come to hire the woman, the mother said they had found her through an agency. The agency owner was also shocked by the incident.

She offered her support to the family and said she would find them a new nanny.

"It is difficult to trust someone again," said the child's mother, indicating she had considered quitting her job to take care of her child, but that would only create financial difficulties for her husband.

In the meantime, they had another woman assisting them in taking care of the child.

Hulisani Nemanashi of the Homecare Placement agency explained such incidents could be prevented if agencies properly screened their nannies before deploying them into people's homes.

"Our industry is saturated and easy to get into. As an employer, you need to understand who is going to carry out the job as well as your clients' needs. A lot of people cut corners and we need to cancel pitfalls," said Nemanashi.

She said agencies needed to do a thorough screening of their job candidates in the same manner one would do for corporate employment.

"Personality tests are important. Those are what come back and bite us. A lot of agencies don't even invest in this. Screen the background and do the checks. We also do a verification of references... Verify why they left their previous employer," said Nemanashi.

"If the processes are done right, there are things that can be picked up," she said.

Nemanashi admitted there were things that could not be picked up immediately which were usually socially triggered, but her agency continued checking in on both the employer and employee to ensure all parties were still satisfied.

Asked why many agencies employed foreign nationals, specifically from Lesotho, Nemanashi said: "They are so popular, because of their rates and the process they would work around. "

She emphasised many people looking for nannies were not always willing to foot the bill to ensure they got motivated and suitable people for the positions.

Meanwhile, the boy's mother said she was unhappy with how their case was handled by the courts.

She feared her nanny would find employment again and would possibly repeat the abuse on another child.


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