There might be a happy ending for the newborn baby boy found abandoned on the side of the road in Verulam, KwaZulu-Natal.
The baby was rescued from a dust bin in Olive Road in Everest Heights by Reaction Unit South Africa on Monday afternoon.
The baby boy who is yet to be named was wrapped in a denim cloth. His umbilical cord and placenta were still attached.
Paramedics stabilised the one-day-old before transporting him to hospital.
Reaction Unit South Africa said it has received about 500 enquiries regarding the well-being and adoption of the baby.
"People have contacted me from across the globe. So far we have had approximately 500 telephonic and social media enquiries from people who want to adopt the baby," Prem Balram, director at Reaction Unit South Africa said.
"I have been informing them that they need to contact a reputable adoption agency or a social worker," he said.
Balram emphasised that he could not confirm if the baby was up for adoption, or assist in the process.
He said the baby was recovering from an infection in the paediatric ward at Osindisweni Hospital.
'It is my baby'
Balram said his unit was alerted about the baby after a scrap collector heard him crying and told a passer-by, who then called the reaction unit.
"When I got to the scene, the paramedics had taken the baby out of the bin bag," he said.
After a brief investigation of the surroundings and with the help of the community, Balram said they managed to identify the mother.
"The woman eventually told us 'it is my baby'," he told News24.
"She told us that she had given birth in the bathroom around 12:30, while her kids were at school. She then put the baby in a bin bag and knotted it," he said.
Balram added that the woman said she put the bag in the bin on the side of the road 30 minutes before the rubbish truck would have passed by.
"If I was there 25 minutes later, the baby would have been crushed to death," he said.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed that a 31-year-old woman had been arrested and a case of child abandonment was opened for investigation.
She appeared in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Thursday and was granted bail of R1 000.
Director at Abba Adoption Katinka Pieterse said there was more to the adoption process than people realised and warned that potential parents should not make the decision lightly.
She highlighted three important processes before a child can be adopted.
- Admitting the child into child care and securing their legal placement in temporary care. This is done by a designated child protection organisation or the social development department and goes through the Children's Court;
- Assessing the circumstances around the abandonment, making an effort to trace information pertaining to any family and then assessing whether the child will benefit from adoption; and
- Potential parents interested in adopting will be recruited (not for a specific child) and screened. Once they have successfully completed the process they will be matched with a child that has been declared adoptable and who is awaiting placement with a prospective adoptive family.