The orthopaedic surgeon who treated a five-month-old baby after she was allegedly continuously assaulted by her parents, today testified on behalf of the state. Dr Helene Basson treated the baby girl on 14 July 2020 after the child was taken to the Eugène Marais Hospital for medical care.

Basson testified that various of the child’s bones were broken, including her collar bone, femur and various ribs – her ribs had about 27 fractures in total. According to Basson, the fractures were comparable with continuous episodes of physical actions, like those of a baby that was held around the body with both hands and then shaken.

The case against the child’s parents is this week being heard in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria. The parents of the baby were arrested in August last year after AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit in July 2020 supported doctors and a social worker to lay criminal charges.

The child’s doctors and a private social worker initially laid a charge with the SAPS and the Department of Social Development and recommended that the baby be removed from her parents’ care. The case against the parents was however scrapped from the roll because according to the magistrate there was a lack of evidence. The baby was temporarily placed in the care of her grandmother, after which she was again returned to her parents.

After the child was hospitalised for a second time with similar injuries, AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit once again submitted charges against the parents.

Both the parents however pleaded not guilty.

“It is incomprehensible how the case was scrapped from the roll in the first place after an expert laid the charges herself seeing as she recognised the signs of child abuse. In addition, the abused child was then once again placed back into the care of the very people who harmed her. It is absolutely illogical and just shows once again that politicians’ continuous remarks regarding violence against children and women are nothing more than lip service,” says Jacques Broodryk, AfriForum’s Manager of Campaigns

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