Hendrika Kruger MPL
Spokesperson on Social Development
The DA in Gauteng will request an investigation into the alleged failure of police to follow procedure which could have prevented the death of a Diepsloot baby.
The seven-month-old was found dead in the family shack after his mother left him and his two-year old sibling unattended. Rats had fed on the baby.
The Sowetan this morning reports that the 24-year-old mother was arrested and charged with negligence in September and that police removed the children and placed them in their grandmother’s care.
The report indicates that information from the Gauteng department of social development suggests that police failed to follow correct procedure.
According to the Children’s Act a police official that misuses his powers to remove a child without a court order constitutes grounds for disciplinary proceedings against that official.
A report seen by the Sowetan suggests that the police officer in charge of the case did not remember the name of the place of safety where the child was taken, and that there were no proper documents regarding the case.
Social workers and police officials must use utmost care and require impeccable judgment to when initiating the process to remove a child from care without a court order. Such instances must be properly investigated and due process, including complying with the Act and filling out the necessary forms, must be followed.
The Constitution and the Children’s Act seek to give effect to children’s rights to care and protection from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.
Failure by police and the Department of Social Development to adequately protect the rights and welfare of children is a grave injustice.
Gauteng police must investigate this incident and take the necessary disciplinary action against those guilty of negligence and failure to protect this child.