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Monthly Archives: August 2009

Cape Times Report on Babies Being Dumped

August 7th, 2009 by | Leave a comment

Babies being dumped as recession bites
By Amandeep Parmar
“Unbelievable – seeing its face was such a shock. I’m still struggling with it,” said Tony Ridgewell,
reflecting on a hectic morning. Ridgewell, visiting his friend at the Telkom office in Bellville on Thursday morning, was beckoned over to the dustbin by a homeless man and saw just a short, protruding arm before he pulled back the bloodstained plastic bag to reveal a blue, lifeless corpse staring up at him.

This is just the latest in a startling trend across the Western Cape, where the recession seems to be driving desperate young mothers to dump their children. A foetus was found in Hans Strijdom Avenue on the Foreshore on Wednesday.
The number of abandoned children, from newborns to six-year-olds, has increased year on year, with 135 dumped from April, 2006, to March, 2007, 256 in 2007/08 and 336 left for dead in dustbins, fields and schoolyards in 2008/09.
The fact that a number of these children are left in schoolyards suggests some of the mothers are
school pupils themselves who are either too poor, or too ashamed, to let the community know what
they have got themselves into. Niresh Ramklass, chief executive of Cape Town Child Welfare in Athlone, said the parents were rarely traced, but it was suspected the majority were quite young.
One mother recently tracked down was found to be just 13 years old.
“We’ve been around for over 100 years and the number of children abandoned is shocking,” said
Ramklass. The problem is most rife in the poorer, rural areas and places such as Khayelitsha, George and
Guguletu. He said unemployment was a major contributing factor, as was substance, alcohol and tik abuse.
There are cases of some babies being dumped in canals, with one discovered “ice cold” on the day
of Jacob Zuma’s inauguration.
Most are left close to homes or communities, indicating the parents want the child taken care of but
don’t have the means, or feel unable to cope. Ramklass appealed to young parents in this situation not to panic and not to just dump their children, especially as it was winter, but to approach the authorities or child welfare.
Care homes are close to capacity and are struggling to cope with the surge in the number of
abandoned babies.