Mother, baby die in suicide tragedy

A 36-YEAR-OLD woman flung her four-year-old baby girl from a high-rise building in central Durban yesterday and then committed suicide by jumping off the building.

The tragedy happened at a block of flats in Victoria Street.

Police spokesperson Captain Michael Reid said the unknown woman jumped from the 11th floor of Damjee Centre.

"She went to the 11th floor, threw her child from there and then jumped to her death from the same floor. They both died.

"We don't know what could have led her to do this."

Eyewitnesses said the woman was from Empangeni and had arrived in Durban a few days before the incident. An eyewitness who refused to give his name said the woman had been seen seated on the building's steps.

"We don't know much about her, except that she is from Empangeni. She had apparently come to Durban to visit the father of her baby. She caught him with another woman. He apparently chased her away and she ended up in the building," the eyewitness said.

Childline's Linda Naidoo said incidents of this nature were on the increase in the Durban area and that this was a worrying trend.

"There have been few incidents of this nature where women kill their own children. This is quite a concern for us," she said.

Naidoo said there could be a number of reasons for the increase of such tragedies.

"Each incident has its own merits and the reasons vary from time to time, but in most cases you will find that the mother was stressed because she has probably broken up with the father or that the father is not supportive and she is unemployed, hence she feels this burden all over her shoulders," said Naidoo.

Meanwhile, police have appealed to members of the public, especially new mothers, to exhaust all possible means of getting help, before taking decisions that could have serious consequences.

"We would like to appeal to people to exhaust all possible means of getting help before resorting to this kind of action," spokesperson Captain Reid said.