Hero cop who helped woman give birth at police station gate loses own child
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Johannesburg - One of the Mpumalanga police officers who was lauded as a hero after helping a Congolee woman give birth at the station’s gate two weeks ago has lost her own child.
Sergeant Itumeleng Motalane’s first-born child died in Ermelo Hospital on Tuesday.
Spokesperson for the Mpumalanga Police Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said he had been admitted following “complications”.
The deceased, Hlathi said, was Motalane’s eldest of four children.
The SAPS family in Mpumalanga, led by the Acting Provincial Commissioner Major General Thulani Phahla, extended their condolences to Motalane and her family for the loss, Hlathi said.
“Two weeks ago, Sergeant Motalane and Constable Tilane Lebitsa, both stationed at Bethal police station, were hailed as heroines after they went beyond the call of duty, assisting a woman to give birth near the police station gate, and today she is in grief and unexplainable pain.
“We extend our deepest condolences to the sergeant and her family in this time of grief. May they find courage and strength to move forward in peace, knowing that the SAPS family in Mpumalanga is with them during this trying and hard time. May the soul of her son rest in eternal peace,” Phahla said.
Motalane and Constable Tilane Lebitsa were on duty on May 3 when a community member alerted them to a woman in labour crying out for help outside the police station. They found a 35-year-old Congolese woman in the company of her husband and her sister.
Motalane said at the time that although she could not find gloves, that had not deterred her from helping the woman.
“There was no time to search for them as someone was in pain. I had to risk my life for the sake of the woman and the baby she was carrying. My only fear was that I had never been confronted with this type of challenge before as all my four children were born at the hospital.
“I told myself that I have to confront my fears and remedy the situation. After I helped the woman give birth, she was cold and shivering. I then requested my colleague, Constable Lebitsa, to get a blanket from her room as she stays at the police barracks.”
After the delivery, Motalane was unsure if the child was alive.
“I was so confused that I could not even hear the baby crying. My male colleagues, who stood at a distance, were very happy and (shouted) that the child was alive. That is when I started hearing the cries of the baby,” she said.
Motalane said she used Google to find information on how to cut the umbilical cord.
“After sourcing information, I then succeed but had to rush… to search for something to tie it. Luckily, I got a shoelace which I sanitised and tied the umbilical cord. At that time, we were waiting for an ambulance to arrive,” she said.
“However, seeing that it was taking time, I asked Constable Lebitsa to volunteer her bakkie so that we could take the woman as well as the baby to hospital.”
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