Police have asked the public to help them solve a case in which a seven-month-old foetus was found abandoned in a Wynberg garbage bin.
A homeless person going through the bins on the main road in Wynberg found the male foetus, wrapped in a blanket and hidden among the rubbish, on Wednesday night November 27, said Wynberg SAPS Captain Silvino Davids.
Captain Davids said they had no leads but were asking anyone with information to come forward.
The case would either be registered as murder or child abandonment, depending on the autopsy results, which were still pending, he said. Police aren’t sure how long the fully-formed foetus had been in the bin but suspect it wasn’t more than a day judging by how much garbage was covering it.
There was a similar case in Plumstead less than three months earlier, when a newborn was found in a plastic bag in a bin at Cassino Road Park on Monday afternoon August 5.
The baby boy was also found by a homeless person going through the bins looking for food, according to Diep River police spokesman Captain Zak Marais.
The baby, just a few days old, was found cold and slightly blue, as it had survived hours in a wet plastic bag. The baby’s pulse was very weak, but it survived after SAPS called an ambulance.
Provincial police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said a case of child abandonment under the Child Care Act was registered at Diep River SAPS. The investigation is ongoing.
Badisa Wynberg, a child protection NGO in Salisbury Road, Wynberg, works with vulnerable children who need care and support.
Manager Juanita Beukes said they helped with cases of children who had been abandoned, abused or exploited, and they also helped to arrange an adoption in some instances.
Ms Beukes said safety parents provided a temporary home for
children, lasting a week to three months, usually while a court
investigation was pending and
often in cases where babies were abandoned at maternity hospitals.
Ms Beukes said the NGO dealt with almost 400 child protection cases a year and, in emergency
cases, they often had to provide the child with baby products, food, stationery, clothes, school uniforms, toiletries and more, depending on their age.
The NGO did not get a full state subsidy and had to raise about
R400 000 annually, she said.
A 2018 study by the Medical Research Council found 3 500 children survive abandonment annually in South Africa.
It is estimated that for every one child found alive, two are found dead. The same research found that 65% of abandoned children are newborns, and 90% are under the age of one.