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Kimberley - Kimberley residents made a gruesome discovery when they found the tiny body of baby boy lying in a river of human faeces and sewage water overflowing from a blocked sewerage drain in Ramatshela Street.
It appears as if the body was pushed to the surface over the weekend as the sewage overflowed from the blocked drain. At this stage it is not clear whether the body is that of a fully developed foetus, a stillborn child or a baby who died after birth.
Resident Eric Maroane made the gruesome discovery and told the DFA that he was traumatised by the incident.
“I had just got off the taxi from town and walking home when I saw a pack of dogs that gathered around what looked like body of a baby. I managed to chase the dogs away,” Maroane said.
He pointed out that after chasing the dogs away from the body of the baby, he called some of the residents to come see what he had witnessed.
“Some residents said that they thought that the baby’s body was a doll, but to me it was clear that this was a baby,” Maroane added.
When the DFA arrived at the scene, a number of community members had gathered around the body, which was just a few metres away from the overflowing blocked drain.
The fully-developed baby was approximately 20 centimetres long with some people saying that he could have been seven, eight or nine months old.
“Some of us are terrified to even think of what could have happened if the children, who normally play here in the street, saw that body or what if the dogs in the neighbourhood found it and dragged it around into our yards. It is traumatising just to look at this,” some residents in the area said.
When the police arrived at the scene they cordoned off the area around the body and the blocked drain.
Residents also used the incident to turn their anger towards the Sol Plaatje Municipality, saying that “we would have not seen such things if the municipality did its work of fixing blocked drains in the area”.
“We are angry because the municipality does not care. We reported this blocked drain three weeks ago and until now they have not been here. It is sad that it has to take such a grim discovery just to get the municipality to provide services to the people,” they said.
According to people living in the area the blocked drain was a health hazard to their families.
“It is difficult to cook and even eat in our own homes because the entire suburb has been engulfed by the stench that is coming from that blocked drain. Our children are getting sick,” residents said.
Spokesman for Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, said that the discovery of a body in the city’s sewerage network was “unfortunate”.
“We need to emphasise, however, that we will continue to unblock drains and sewerage pipes, but we once again appeal to members of the public to stop putting foreign objects in the system because blockages will not stop as long as this trend persists,” he explained.
In Mafungu Street “we spent one-and-a-half hours removing hair (wigs and hair extensions) just to unblock the blocked drain”, Matsie said.
Northern Cape police spokeswoman, Lieutenant Andrea Cloete, said that the police are investigating the incident.
“An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death,” Cloete added.
The Northern Cape Department of Health said that it was disappointed at the fact that women still resorted to unsafe methods to terminate unwanted pregnancies whereas it (the department) provided such services at health facilities.
“We are appealing to women to consult health facilities for various family planning methods to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to ensure that they fall pregnant when ready to do so. Some health facilities terminate unwanted pregnancies before 12 weeks so women can access these services at the facilities, other than risking their lives,” the department’s spokeswoman, Lulu Mxekezo, said.
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