Poverty linked to baby dumpings

A local NGO has blamed social ills for the increase in cases of baby dumping.

A local NGO has blamed social ills for the increase in cases of baby dumping. Picture: Stock.XCHNG

CAPE TOWN - Unless the cycle of poverty is broken baby dumping will continue to take place, says a Cape Town non-governmental organisation which rescues abandoned babies.

Three separate cases have been recorded in the last 10 days, while an estimated 500 babies were abandoned over a 10-month period.

In the latest incident, the body of a newborn baby was found in bushes in Philippi-East on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the body of a newborn baby girl was found dumped in a bush in Delft over the weekend. A passer-by found the little girl wrapped in a blanket near the Tsunami informal settlement.

In March, a new-born baby was found alive covered in maggots close to the same area. In another incident, a newborn was found in a fridge in Johannesburg earlier this month. The baby was found alive in a residential yard with its umbilical cord still attached.

Baby Safe's Sofia Morgan says poverty plays a huge role in almost 90 percent of cases.

"The mothers lack the financial means to care for the child. At the same time, the high rates of HIV/Aids, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as rape, also influence a mother who is in a desperate state."

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Social Development Department says after the body of a newborn baby is found they try their best to track down the family.

If no relatives are found, the infant is then given a pauper's funeral.

Police usually investigate concealment of birth or, in an extreme incident, a murder case.

Babies who are found alive, such as the little boy who was put in a drain in Paarl last Thursday, are placed in a temporary safe house.

After obtaining a court document which stipulates the child is in the care of the state, social workers have 90 days to trace the family.

If no one comes forward to collect the child, he or she is then placed in foster care and then placed on a long adoption waiting list.