More babies are abandoned
THE number of abandoned babies found alive in Gauteng has trebled over the past three years, from 49 cases in 2007 to 138 last year
This was revealed by Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko in a written reply to questions posed by the Democratic Alliance in the Gauteng legislature.
According to Mazibuko the babies were found at hospitals, open fields, parks and in rubbish bins.
The figures are from case dockets opened at police stations involving incidents of concealment of birth.
A total of 355 live babies were found abandoned from 2007 to 2010. Over the same period 468 abandoned babies were found dead. But the trend was largely steady, with 102 cases in 2007 and 115 cases in 2010.
Only 33 arrests were made for all these abandoned babies, dead or alive.
Drug and alcohol abuse have been identified as factors causing abandonment, next to mothers who cannot cope with the responsibility of a newborn baby.
"Mothers need to know that there are alternatives to abandoning their babies, including 'hole in the wall' centres a baby can be left safely," DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said.
Carol Bews, assistant director at Johannesburg Child Welfare, said it was difficult to find the real reason why people abandon babies.
"We can speculate about it but it is definitely an act of desperation because it is not natural for someone to dump a baby.
"It could be from a lack of support from the family, difficulty in accessing abortion facilities and many other things," Bews said.
She said from an early age girls need to be taught about the options they have when it comes to pregnancy.