Gagged toddler: department closes creche


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INLSA

Labeeba Truter has been charged with assault and child abuse. Photo: Nokuthula Mbatha

Johannesburg - Government on Wednesday welcomed the closure of the Rosettenville crèche in Johannesburg where a toddler was bound, gagged, and left in a bathroom unattended.

“Government welcomes the closure of Petite Bumper Daycare centre in Rosettenville by the department of social development and law enforcement agencies in Gauteng,” spokeswoman Phumla Williams said in a statement.

“Abuse and violence against children will not be tolerated in our country.”

The centre came under the spotlight on Tuesday when the Daily Sun published screen grabs of the toddler tied up and gagged in a bathroom at the crèche, allegedly by the owner, so that she could watch television.

The paper reported that it was in possession of a video of the child trying to free herself.

In the video, the child tries to free herself by moving around on the floor until she gets stuck between the toilet and the wall.

Crèche owner Labeeba Truter told the paper she was aware of the incident but had not reported it to police. She claimed she was not responsible for the abuse and she did not know it was child abuse.

On Wednesday police said a case of child abuse was opened but Truter had not yet been linked to the case. She was, however, being held for questioning as she was the owner of the crèche.

Williams condemned the abuse in the strongest possible way and said South Africa's Constitution made clear provision for the protection of children's rights.

“A child has a right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.”

She called on parents to engage with staff and owners of facilities where they left their children and determine if they were legally registered.

Williams added that parents should insist on seeing a copy of the social development department registration certificate.

“It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that their children are in a place that is safe and secure, and to be aware and vigilant of the establishment's supervisions, routine, and discipline procedures,” she said. - Sapa


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