Durban - Yolanda du Plooy still cries when she thinks of the bond she developed with a “tiny, helpless” baby and how his drug addict father took him from her two Saturdays ago reportedly to try to sell him for R2 000, for a fix.
She had cared for the baby for a week before he was taken from her. The father had told her that someone wanted to donate nappies and milk to the child, but they first wanted to see the baby.
“I’ve cried so much it hurts,” the 35-year-old mother of two said.
“I don’t know how he could have done that. I was willing to help him look after that child and provide the baby with a good home.”
Last week, the 20-year-old father and his 19-year-old brother appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on charges of child trafficking.
The pair had allegedly been trying to sell the older sibling’s 18-day-old son for R2 000 to random couples in Clairwood, south Durban, to feed their addiction to whoonga - a mixture of dagga and heroin.
A taxi owner, appalled by the men negotiating the sale of the child, called the police.
Members of the Montclair Crime Prevention Unit later arrested them as they were smoking whoonga at a drug den near South Coast Road.
The mother of the child was arrested on drug charges a few days after his birth and is in Westville Prison, police said.
Du Plooy, who shares a flat in Rossburgh with her fiancé and 7-year-old daughter, said she met the father through a woman who runs a day-care facility in her complex. The child was then a week old.
“The lady had to go somewhere one day (two weeks ago) and asked me to look after the child. He was so tiny and adorable I didn’t mind.”
Du Plooy said the father came back at about 10pm and took the child home with him. He told her he stayed at a rundown house in Seaview.
The next day he brought the child back to her and asked her to look after the boy, she said.
The father had given her some nappies and clothing, which he said had been donated to him by people.
She said she looked after the child for a week and had made an appointment with a private paediatrician for a check-up.
She bought the baby new clothes, gripe water for colic, which she noticed he had developed, and cream for a rash on his bottom.
“I knew the father did not have the means. They lived basically on the streets and he told me he made money selling avocado pears. I even let him pick avocado pears from my mother’s tree in the yard. I wanted to look after the baby for him,” she said.
Du Plooy said when the father left the baby in her care, the clinic card indicated he had been born at King Edward VIII Hospital on April 8.
On the day the father was arrested, Du Plooy said he came to her home early that morning and told her someone wanted to donate nappies and milk to the child, but they first wanted to see the baby.
She said she wrapped the baby in a shawl, made a bottle of milk for him and gave him to the father.
“I even said to him not to bring the child back too late because it is getting cold at night and I did not want him to get sick. He told me he would bring the baby back at around 3pm. I had absolutely no idea what he was really going to do.”
Du Plooy said police called her soon after 2pm and she “went cold” when they told her what he had tried to do.
“The baby is such an innocent little child who did not deserve that. When I was told that the child was being placed in social welfare I pleaded with the police to give me the baby to look after in the meanwhile because he would not get the individual attention I would give him if he is at a home.
“They told me there was nothing they could do. It breaks my heart,” she said.
The Child Protection Unit has taken over the investigation.