The case against two parents who were arrested on charges of child abuse, started in the Northern Gauteng High Court in Pretoria today. The parents of the baby were arrested in August 2020 after AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit assisted doctors and a social worker in July last year to lay criminal charges.
The baby girl was admitted to a hospital in Pretoria in July 2020 with various fractures (which, according to doctors, had occurred during different times) and injuries consistent with child abuse. She had been admitted to the same hospital previously at the age of 5 weeks, in April 2020, also with injuries consistent with child abuse. Her doctors and the social workers reported the case to the police and the Department of Social Development and recommended that the baby be removed from her parents’ custody. The case was however thrown out after the Magistrate cited a lack of evidence. The baby was temporarily placed in her grandmother’s care, but afterwards returned to her parents.
AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit got involved in the case after the child’s second admittance to the hospital, and laid charges against the parents.
Both parents pleaded not guilty.
The state called its first witness today, a relative by marriage, who testified that the mother of the baby neglected her often and the baby was underfed.
“It is very disappointing that the police took their time with the investigation, and that the case was removed from the court roll despite strong evidence against the accused. This placed her in a position where she was further assaulted and she came close to dying. This is an innocent child who did not deserve to become a victim at the hands of her own parents. It is time that high profile officials stop their lip service about violence against women and children and start acting against perpetrators,” says Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum’s Manager for Campaigns.
The case continues tomorrow.