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Anger after Gauteng DSD cancels Child and Youth Care Centres, risking babies’ lives

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
22 October 2023 | 08:49 CAT

Image: Google

Political parties across the political spectrum have expressed shock and outrage after the Gauteng Department of Social Development declared that practising “baby saver/haven box” structures and services is illegal. If further instructed, Gauteng NPO-run Child and Youth Care Centres to immediately cease such practices and to close these services within the province.

After 25 years of having Baby Savers operational in the country, DSD has stated that the dumping of a baby is breaking the law.

The DA believes these babies are not being dumped but rather protected by their mothers because several circumstances like rape and poverty lead women to relinquish their children.

“These NPOs fulfil a critical function in our society, and many aspects, our society is walked because of certain circumstances,” Bronwynn Engelbrecht, MPL – DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Social Development, said.

“The NPO’s are fulfilling a role which social development should be fulfilling, but because they are not capable like most state departments are not capable, NPO’s are a critical lifeline,” Engelbrecht added.

Mothers across the province have sought help from Hospitals, Social Workers and Police Stations but have, on numerous occasions, been turned away.

According to the DA, the refusal of help in the past led to the discovery of babies in pit toilets, parking lots and dumping sites and do not want this desperate act to continue, so the DA proposes that the department collaborate with the Baby Savers facilities.

Regarding the statistical impact the Baby Savers have made, Engelbrecht said, “five-hundred babies have been saved thus far in 2023 across the country.”

“The work of the Baby Savers has, in return, protected the babies’ constitutional right to life. DSD has failed miserably in this regard, and instead of working together with NPOs to save these abandoned babies, they are snuffing out any potential an abandoned baby has for a life of fulfilment and purpose,” said the DA.

According to Engelbrecht, the DSD states that the matter must first go to the children’s court before a child can be given to a Baby Saver.

Engelbrecht argues that there’s a total detachment from the department on the reality faced by desperate and vulnerable mum’s and is of no help to a baby lying in a dumpster that must first go to the Children’s Court and follow a process that could take days or months.

The DA demands the MEC re-evaluate the department’s decision and reverse this senseless decision and instead provide these babies with an environment where they can flourish.

“This department must stop victimizing NPOs who are fulfilling a crucial role in linking the many desperate and disadvantaged with a life of normality where they can feel safe,” the DA stated.

Listen to the full interview on the Daily Round-Up with Moulana Juniad Kharsany.


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