Cape Town - The family of an abandoned toddler who was left on the streets of Seawinds has been found, but have refused to co-operate with social workers.
This is according to the Department of Social Development who revealed that the child had been neglected before.
The case of the little girl, who is believed to be just two years old, sparked an outcry on the Cape Flats after Lucinda Evans, the founder of Philisa Abafazi Bethu, took to social media to appeal for the family to come forward.
At the time, she told the Daily Voice that on 15 December, she was contacted by a woman who found the child wandering on her own in Spoonbill Crescent.
Evans collected the child, who was dressed in shorts and a vest, and tried to find the family.
She later posted a picture of the child’s foot on Facebook and expressed her shock that nobody had come forward to claim the child.
After her pleas fell on deaf ears, the girl was handed over to social workers.
Joshua Chigome, spokesperson for social development minister, Sharna Fernandez, confirms that they have been able to find the child’s family, but in a shocking twist, says their records show social workers dealt with the family previously, before the toddler went missing in December.
He says in September last year, social workers were in contact with an grandmother of the child as she had been neglected.
“On 13 September 2019, contact was made with the maternal step-grandmother, who confirmed that the child is residing with her,” explains Chigome.
“The child had been neglected, but not abandoned.
“It is unclear what happened with the child from the time the step-grandmother was contacted to December where she was found abandoned.
“It is also unclear who was caring for her at the time she was found as the family refuses to co-operate.”
Chigome says that after the child was found in December, social workers managed to locate the family and obtain a temporary file with a birth certificate.
“We are currently experiencing challenges around co-operation of the family members to verify information obtained,” he says.
“The minister has prioritised this case and the matter is still under investigation. The child is at a place of safety and will remain there until the finalisation of the matter.”
Chigome said that during the investigation, they can’t indicate if criminal charges would be opened against the toddler’s family.