MEC: Baby's death during social welfare strike should be wake-up call

The Gauteng Social Development Department confirmed that six-month-old Singalakha Sonamazi died after being moved to an NGO as a result of an ongoing strike.

FILE: Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza. Picture: YouTube screengrab.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza says the death of a six-month-old baby should be a wake-up call for all those involved in the social welfare strike.

The department confirmed on Wednesday that Singalakha Sonamazi died after being moved to an NGO as a result of the ongoing strike.

She was among 90 children who were transferred from government care facilities to NGOs around the country on Friday.

Mayathula-Khoza says while workers have a right to strike, they should also be mindful of the essential services they render to those most vulnerable in society.

“We believe that this moment of the tragic passing of a little child should call upon all of us in the spirit of humanity to find ways to put aside the differences and find one another urgently.”

She says she decided to move the children because some centres were in a bad state.

“At this point, we became concerned about the well-being of the department’s beneficiaries in all our institutions, especially our children.”

The Social Development MEC says contingency plans have been put in place to prevent a further loss of life.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)