Durban - A two-week-old baby’s body was found on Thursday morning in a garbage bin just metres away from a newly-installed baby safe in Glenwood. This has led to the call for legalising anonymous abandonment - a safe haven law.
Homeless people were rummaging in the bins on Helen Joseph (Davenport) Road yesterday at about 7am when they found the baby.
Reports suggest the baby was suffocated before he was dumped.
Kim Brown, one of the founders of the NPO Likhon iThemba, which installed the baby safe, on Thursday said it had been a very frustrating morning for them because the baby safe was “literally across the road”.
Brown said the baby was at least two weeks old, not a late-term pregnancy nor a newborn.
“It’s really frustrating. It was a boy. He looked healthy and strong,” Brown said.
“We have mixed emotions about it. We feel we failed because of a lack of advertising. But we held off on the signage and advertising because we wanted everything running smoothly without any glitches.”
She said in a few weeks they planned on finalising the pamphlets and would try to get advertising in newspapers and on radio stations.
“It’s incredibly sad and everyone blames the mom, but you don’t know what is going on in the family or with the partner. There are so many variables to it,” Brown said.
When the baby safe was unveiled, co-founder Leanne Lorrance-Brown said in the Glenwood/Umbilo area they had had five abandoned babies since the start of the year, but only one was found alive. This was why they installed the baby safe in the area.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala yesterday said an inquest docket had been opened and police were investigating the circumstances surrounding the dumping of the baby.
Child protection activist and researcher Dee Blackie said the immediate action to curb the dumping of babies would be to legalise anonymous abandonment.
“What we should be doing is ensuring that there is a safe place for mothers who cannot take care of their children to hand them over to others to be sure that they will be well looked after and taken care of, for instance the safe haven law.
“We see these baby safes all over the country but they are operating illegally because the law currently states that you cannot place your child into care anonymously,” Blackie said.
There are five baby safes in KwaZulu-Natal: Thandi House (Pietermaritzburg), The Domino Foundation (Durban North), Open Arms (Bluff), Choices for Life: Impilo Baby Haven (eManzimtoti) and Likhon iThemba Charity Hop Shop (Glenwood).
There are two more baby safes on the cards for Durban.
Isaiah 54 Children’s Sanctuary founder Glynnis Dauth said they were still on course for the installation of two new baby safes in the Durban city centre.
“We’re still negotiating; it has not yet been finalised but we’re getting there.”