Dogs maul child to death at tavern
The mother of a three-year-old girl who was mauled to death by dogs at a tavern could face criminal charges.
Omphile Kuago was killed when vicious dogs attacked her at a tavern in Mokopane, Limpopo, while her mother was allegedly drinking alcohol.
Police spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe said they were interrogating the 36-year-old woman and were not ruling out possibilities that she could be arrested.
"We are questioning the mother and possibility is that she could be charged with child negligence."
He said when the mother arrived at the tavern around 10pm on Saturday, she allegedly placed the toddler on a bed in a room in the same yard as the tavern and went inside the shebeen.
"The little girl woke up and wandered in the backyard of the tavern and that's when she got attacked by the dogs until the other patrons came to her rescue. The child was taken to the hospital but, sadly, she was certified dead on arrival."
Omphile's mother, only known as Kholo, was yesterday receiving counselling from social workers who had visited her house following the tragedy.
An elderly woman who was among those comforting the mother said Kholo was not taking the death of the child well. "She appears strong [now] and I think with time she will get better," she said.
Kholo's mother refused to comment and said the family was frustrated and hurting.
Speaking to SowetanLive over the phone, she said: "We are hurt already and newspapers are going to make things worse for us. Leave the house and don't speak to anyone."
When a SowetanLive journalist visited the tavern yesterday, the dogs believed to have killed the child were barking inside a locked enclosure behind the tavern.
An employee at the tavern, who refused to give his name, said he was there when the incident happened but that he didn't see or hear anything because the music was too loud.
Ngoepe urged the community, especially mothers or guardians, to put children's safety first.
"Taking a child to the liquor outlet is totally uncalled for and it must not happen to avoid and prevent this type of incident occurring," he said.
Limpopo MEC for social development Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana said she learnt with shock of the child's death
She pleaded with parents to ensure that their children were attended to at all times.