Members of Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA) worked swiftly to apprehend the mother of a baby girl believed to be about 3-months-old, whom she dumped on a pathway in the Verulam CBD and allegedly proceeded to indulge in a night of heavy drinking at a friend’s house in Amouti, on Friday.

The incident sparked widespread public outcry after RUSA reported the incident on their Facebook page where they asked for the community to assist in identifying the mother through CCTV footage that was made available.

Provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele, said, “On 12 July 2019, a 3-month-old baby girl was found at a restaurant in Wick Street. She was taken to hospital for a check-up. A case of child abandonment was opened at Verulam police station for investigation.” Mbele said a 21-year-old female was arrested and she will appear in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court soon.

According to RUSA head, Prem Balram, at approximately 8pm members of Reaction Unit South Africa were called out to Copper Chimney, a restaurant on Wick Street, after an employee of the fast food outlet found the child on a pathway behind the business premises. “Upon arrival, Reaction officers contacted RUSA paramedics who assessed the child and found her to be in
good health. CCTV footage showed a woman placing the baby at the edge of a flight of stairs and walking away. She was dressed in a long white jersey or coat and she was carrying a large white handbag. RUSA circulated information of the abandoned baby requesting assistance from the public to identify the mother of the child. Through a network of informers, Reaction officers received information regarding the suspect’s home in Zwelisha. Throughout the night, officers kept observation over the residence and on Sunday morning, the woman was apprehended in the presence of her father and sister as she was
about to board a taxi outside her home,” Balram said.

“During questioning, the woman confirmed that she had abandoned her child in a pathway behind Copper Chimney restaurant on Wick Street. She explained that the father of the child is a taxi driver who failed to provide any financial support for the baby which resulted in her actions. After she abandoned the baby, the mother proceeded to a friend’s house in Amouti where she stayed after a night of heavy drinking. She returned to her father’s residence on Saturday night. According to the mother of two, she has a son with a different father. The older child is being cared for by his grandparents,” Balram said.

“There have been too many incidents of baby abandonment in the North Coast area and RUSA members have attended to several such scenes where they have worked quickly together with help from the community to track down errant mothers. This callous practice must be halted as it is becoming the norm and the penalty for such behaviour is barely a slap on the wrist resulting in other mothers following suit and continuing the pathetic trend,” added Balram.