Mere days after DistrictMail reported on a newborn given a chance at life when it was safely deposited by its mother in the Helderberg Baby Saver, another baby has been found abandoned.
This time around, the newborn baby wasn’t as lucky; its lifeless body was found dumped in a wastebin in Somerset West this past weekend. The gruesome and tragic discovery was made only a few kilometres away from where the Baby Saver is located.
According to Sergeant Suzan Jantjies, spokesperson for the Somerset West police, the discovery was made by a bin rummager on Saturday 28 April.
She said a woman who searched through a municipal bin on the corner of Main Road and Church Street at 12:45 found the little form inside a blue plastic bag.
Jantjies could not provide an age estimate of the newborn. “Authorities were alerted,” she said. “Medical personnel who also responded to the incident declared the newborn dead on the scene.”
An inquest docket has been opened.
Sandy Immelman, founder of the Baby Saver, described being “deeply saddened” by the news of another dumping.
“We need to step up education and raise awareness of services and assistance offered by the Choices Centre, at local clinics, and on contraception,” she pointed out. “Women facing crisis pregnancies need to be supported and not abandoned. Abandoning them in their hour of need is what can lead them ultimately to feeling so desperate that they feel abandoning their baby is their only option.”
Immelman added that citizens should push for a safe haven law in South Africa “so that an option exists for babies to be placed in safety at hospitals and other identified places, such as police stations — no questions asked.
“At present, this does not exist. Fortunately, we have the Helderberg Baby Saver as a last safety net. However, if people are unaware of its existence, then it is of no use.
“Let us not sit in judgement, but rather do what we can to educate, inform and provide support where we can.”
The Baby Saver is a special safe built into the wall at the Choices Centre, where mothers can place their unwanted baby.
When a baby is placed in the safe an alarm is triggered and an appointed respondent collects the baby.
The idea for the Baby Saver was initiated four years ago, after two incidents of babies found abandoned in Somerset West. Baby Amber was one of the babies and was found by a homeless man and his dog next to the river in Andries Pretorius Street on 8 February 2014.
Baby Ayabonga was the first to benefit from the Baby Saver since its inception. In his case, the alarm was triggered at 15:00 on Tuesday 6 October 2015, when the healthy one-month-old was placed in the Saver.
The third and most recent to benefit was an estimated 12-hour-old baby girl, who was collected from the Saver on Saturday 21 April.
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