Investigations into possible syndicates involving renting of babies

Police and social workers are investigating the possibility that syndicates are using crèches and...

A woman and child beg for money on Republic Road in Randburg. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

Police and social workers are investigating the possibility that syndicates are using crèches and other child care facilities in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><place w:st="on"><city w:st="on">Pretoria to rent out babies to street beggars.

The authorities cracked down on women begging with babies on streets in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Pretoria on Friday.

In May, Eyewitness News exposed the practice of babies being rented out for as little as R20 a day.

Some children were being used to elicit sympathy from motorists, who would then donate money.

As the police removed beggars with babies from the streets, some officers feared the children’s real parents would get told by unscrupulous crèche owners that their children were missing.

It is understood some child care facilities, particularly in the city centre and Sunnyside rent out infants in their care to beggars.

While the police would not go on record confirming this allegation, they said they were looking into organised operations exploiting children and the disabled.

The police’s Catherine Tladi said, “We are trying to get the syndicates for children, the blind and the cripple.”

They have vowed to tackle this issue.