Cape Town - Drain cleaners found the body of a newborn baby while cleaning a sewerage pipe in Gugulethu on Monday.

The baby was lying face down under heap of sand in a drain in Tambo Street in New Rest.

Site foreman Rowland Erasmus said they had been clearing the sewerage line when the pump seized. Investigation led to the discovery of the baby’s body.

Police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said he could not confirm the baby’s gender or how long it had been buried.

A concealment of birth docket had been opened.

Western Cape Social Development minister Albert Fritz said there were other options for parents who did not want their children. “There is no need to resort to dumping unwanted babies. There are also several NGOs offering outreach services which parents can turn to for help with unwanted pregnancies.”

The dumping of babies as though they were “trash” saddened him. But while some believed that parents who dumped babies should be punished, other factors needed to be considered.

“One has to take into account the possibility of mental health problems. It is therefore rather about educating communities on their options.”

The Department of Social Development has six regional offices and 37 local offices across the country for help with social welfare matters. Anyone needing help can call the department’s toll-free line on 0800 220 250 during office hours.

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Cape Argus