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Child born in Mozambican prison welcomed back to SA

His mother was arrested for drug trafficking and the boy has been living in the prison for the past 2 years.

FILE: The department says it’s been working closely with authorities in Mozambique to return the little boy to his extended family in the Free State. Picture: stock.xchng.

JOHANNESBURG - Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini on Wednesday received a three-year-old boy from OR Tambo International Airport.

He had been repatriated from a Mozambican prison where his mother was incarcerated.

The woman was arrested for drug trafficking and the boy has been living in the prison for the past two years.

The department says it's been working closely with authorities in Mozambique to return the little boy to his extended family in the Free State.

The minister's spokesperson Lumka Oliphant says the department will now assess the family and continue to monitor the child as he grows up.

"Countries differ in how they treat the children. So instead of us letting her stay with the child in jail and have the Mozambican authorities decide anything about the child, we are able to repatriate [him]."

At the same time, the social development department says it's concerned about a growing trend of young South African pregnant women getting involved in drug syndicates across borders.

The department says it's aware of 14 other South African women who are in the same situation as this mother in this prison alone.

The department says while it managed to repatriate the three-year-old boy, there is at least one other child still at the same prison.

Oliphant says the department has overseen the repatriation of 18 children in the last 10 years.

She says the department is working with the police on the matter and has reported the trend.