Johannesburg - A South African baby, born to a drug mule in a Brazilian prison, was returned home on Thursday.
“The child has been repatriated,” said Department of Social Development spokeswoman Lumka Oliphant, “due to efforts by the department, International Relations and Home Affairs.”
Speaking on behalf of Minister Bathabile Dlamini, Oliphant said she could not reveal the name of the baby’s mother as it would identify the two-month-old baby.
The mother was arrested and charged with drug trafficking.
“After Dirco (the Department of International Relations and Co-operation) received information about the mother, it informed the Department of Social Development, and we went to speak to the mother,” she said.
The department then asked the then-pregnant mother what she wanted it to do with her child, and she nominated her grandmother as a foster parent.
The baby was brought back to the country as soon as possible because repatriation must happen before babies reach the age of six months.
“We currently have 150 South African women incarcerated in Brazil. We still have two children who have yet to be fetched from Brazil,” said Oliphant.
She sent out a warning to South African women as the Fifa World Cup in Brazil nears.
“Leading up to the World Cup, we’re speaking to young women about the issues of them being lured into drug trafficking. Some traffickers pretend to be in a relationship with them. They target rural and vulnerable young women. Some even target pregnant women,” she said.
She added there was nothing South Africa could do once citizens were arrested in other countries.