Residents asked not to take law into own hands after mom’s arrest for allegedly beating infant son to death
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Johannesburg - The tragic death of an 11-month-old baby – allegedly beaten to death by his mother – has placed the spotlight on the safety of children as the country marks Child Protection Week.
Limpopo SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said on Monday that a 42-year-old mother from Ha-Lambani Tswinganani village, Limpopo, was arrested for the murder of her baby son.
The mom had reportedly locked herself and the boy inside a hut and she started hitting him on Sunday.
“Community members reportedly heard the frantic cries of the baby and rushed to the house. After realising that the door was locked, they broke it down and rescued the badly injured baby from the mother,” Mojapelo said.
The baby was rushed to the local Lambani clinic but was declared dead on arrival. The motive for the killing has not yet been ascertained, but police in Limpopo said domestic violence could not be ruled out as a cause.
Limpopo police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembi Hadebe urged residents to desist from taking the law into their own hands, but rather to allow it to take its course.
Limpopo Social Development MEC Nkakareng Rakgoale said the killing has once again placed the spotlight on the safety of children.
“What is worrying is that the incident happened at a time we are supposed to be showing love and appreciation to our children; our gifts from God. Child abuse must come to an end,” Rakgoale said.
The MEC urged parents, who are having problems with their children or in a relationship, not to resort to violence but to approach social workers for an intervention.
“Let us use Child Protection Week to redouble our efforts in protecting and caring for children, as the law demands of us to do that. Social workers will provide psychosocial support to all the parties affected by this sad incident," she said.
National executive for Childline SA, Dumisile Nala, said the incident was tragic and that the general belief in society was that mothers would protect their children.
“When we come across such a case you would have to wonder what has happened to this mother and what challenges, if any, she might have faced to come to a point where she killed her infant,” Nala said.
Nala said that a week was not enough to address child protection. “Child protection has to be a daily thing. We have to advocate for it every day and all the time,” she said.
Director of clinical services at the Teddy Bear Clinic, Dr Shaheda Omar, said children were a vulnerable and marginalised population group.
“It should be implicit in society’s understanding and response that children should be protected at all costs.”
Omar added that Child Protection Week spoke to the protection of children first.
“By protecting children we are protecting our future generations and building a stronger nation. The reality is that because children do not have a voice, they are voiceless so often children continue to hurt but they are not being heard,” she said.