baby stuffed in case

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

A student nurse could face a possible murder charge after the body of a 13-day-old baby boy whom she is suspected to have given birth to was found in a suitcase in the Addington Hospital nurses' residence in Durban.

The baby's body was wrapped in a plastic bag and shoved into a suitcase in the room used by the student who is in her mid-20s.

It's not clear whether the child was alive or dead when he was born on January 15.

Sowetan has reliably learnt that hospital security was alerted to the scene on Sunday evening after the housekeeper at the residence reported a foul stench.

On investigation the security discovered the decomposed body of the infant.

"The security alerted the SAPS. It was shocking. Even the security guard was traumatised by what he saw and it was not a pretty sight at all," said one person who was at the scene.

There were also fears from some hospital personnel that the case was likely to be kept hidden from the public amid allegations that "an individual within the police and close to the mother, wanted to cover up the case".

The police had still not confirmed the incident at the time of going to press.

Yesterday, health department spokesman Leon Mbangwa condemned the incident.

He said the department will launch an urgent inquiry into the matter and all those responsible will be taken to task.

"We are clearly disheartened by what we heard. We cannot condone such behaviour and will make sure that the police and our investigations get to the bottom of this.

"In a case where someone is pregnant and does not want the baby, there are legal options such as adoption or even terminating the pregnancy."

Mbangwa also expressed concern that if a student nurse was in any way involved, then the message sent out to the public by someone tasked to protect the "vulnerable and sick" would be a "negative" one.