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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Shocker about baby's agony

By unknown | Jan 13, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

A week after broadcasting a spine-chilling expose about the sexual abuse of teenagers by a social welfare worker in Western Cape, the TV investigative programme Special Assignment is back in action.

Last week the show shocked viewers by showing the disturbing pattern of the alleged sexual abuse of young girls of 15 by Terry Oliphant.

He has since been suspended by the Congress of the People and the Western Cape provincial government and faces charges in court.

Tonight the documentary series tells the tragic story of baby Michael Connor, who was physically abused by his own parents and rendered a quadriplegic before he turned six months old, and of the state prosecutor who fought to see justice done for the little boy.

In November 2003, baby Michael was admitted to the emergency ward of Johannesburg Hospital, bruised, blind and brain damaged.

The programme investigates how he was failed by those who should have protected him, his mother and father, who took turns in the subsequent court case to blame each other.

Michael's mother, after accusing her boyfriend and the child's father, later told police under oath she had abused the baby - but later retracted.

Then there was the social worker who returned the abused infant to his parents after he was first admitted to hospital.

The programme also involves the people who are taking care of Michael and are trying to help the little boy lead as comfortable a life as possible.

Then there is Johannesburg prosecutor Carina Coetzee, who intervened personally in the court proceedings to ensure that Michael's abusers will appear later this year on charges of attempted murder and assault.

Coetzee, who has been involved in some of the most high-profile cases involving child abuse, was prepared to sell her house to raise funds for the case.

Special Assignment will be flighted tonight at 9.30pm.


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