A woman in Mpumalanga is looking at a possible jail sentence for abandoning what would have eventually been her newborn baby.
On 5 January 2022, local police were called to an unfortunate scene: inside a rubbish bin was a human foetus wrapped in a plastic bag inside a shoebox. The discovery was made in Ackerville Township by a man who was poking inside the bin.
It isn’t clear as to how old the discovered foetus may have been.
COMMUNITIES URGED TO REPORT ILLEGAL ABORTIONS
Law enforcement officers got to work and managed to track the woman, who happened to be living near the scene. The 36-year-old woman from Vosman was to make an appearance in the Emalahleni Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 7 January 2022, facing a charge of concealment of birth, which is alleged to have occurred on 5 January 2022 – just two days before.
The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela has lauded the police for their swift action and further pleaded with community members, asking them to report those who commit illegal abortions to the authorities.
“We earnestly call on families of ladies who are pregnant and then suddenly the pregnancy disappears, to report such inhumane behavior to the relevant authorities so that the matter could be followed up and the culprits thereof are put behind bars”
The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Manamela
In September 2021, another Mpumalanga woman abandoned her newborn baby in a restroom at a mall in the capital Mbombela.
“According to the report, the baby was found by the cleaners in one of the restrooms at Ilanga Mall, wrapped in a blanket and the authorities were immediately notified. The baby was taken to a place of safety and police are investigating a case of child abandonment,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala at the time.
There are several reasons why new mothers abandon their children – the children could either be disabled or be born with a condition, an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy or the mother may be a teenager not ready for parenthood.