The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) yesterday advised her to take the legal route in her bid to find closure. It said the prospects of succeeding were huge because the mother never signed any form consenting to the disposal of the baby’s body.
Gloria Mhlongo, 27, from New Eersterust near Soshanguve, is accusing clinic staff of stealing her premature baby boy shortly after she gave birth in May last year. She continues to search for answers - but to date she has had none nor received any counselling from the government.
She said she was sad that she still had not heard from either the clinic or the Health Department almost a year later.
SAHRC provincial manager Buang Jones said: “The department should provide proof that the mother signed a form consenting that the baby be disposed of. If it fails to show something in writing then the mother actually stands on good ground to sue.”
Jones said he would get in contact with the woman to take the matter forward; his office would refer her to lawyers who could assist her, cost free.
Soon after the news of the disappearance of the baby surfaced, the department said it was launching a probe. Last October the mother said a senior official at the clinic told her: “We did you a favour by disposing of your baby because you wouldn’t have been able to afford a coffin.”
Mhlongo said she has been living in hell. With no explanation regarding the baby, she suspected the child might even still be alive.
“Every time I see people who were also pregnant at that time, holding their babies, my heart just breaks.
“Actually, the entire community is affected. We would like to know what happened. I think I’m getting this unfair treatment because we are poor,” she said. "I think my child was sold. Why can’t they show us the body if he is dead?”
Recalling that fateful day, she said she had arrived at the clinic in excruciating pain, but wasn’t given any medical assistance until a cleaner called a nurse who eventually helped her.
“When I tried to get up to see the baby, the nurse told me to lie down. I saw him lying there and he was breathing. The nurse went to weigh him and told me it was a boy. She had a plastic bag in her hand in which she placed him and turned her back on me.”
Soon after the disappearance, the DA stepped in to help the family. Constituency chairperson Michael Ngobeni has been assisting since. He has said the party suspected a syndicate was getting babies from the clinic.
Ngobeni said they had been trying to meet the sister who helped Mhlongo give birth with no success.
Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa last year said the probe was delayed because the implicated nurse had been on sick leave.