Woman arrested after allegedly stealing a 4-day-old baby.
Staff at the Hlabisa Hospital in northern KZN have been praised for their quick thinking, which led to the arrest of a lady who was accused earlier this week of stealing a four-day-old infant from the Mtubatuba town center.
According to KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane, on Tuesday a woman in her mid-20s allegedly approached the mother of the child and requested if she may use her cell phone to make an urgent call. The phone had no airtime, though.
“The woman then gave the mother some money, and offered to hold her baby, while sending the mother to get airtime. The mother, who is in her early 20s, duly complied.”
But when the mother came back, the mother and the child were gone.
The distraught mother subsequently reported the incident to the police and posted about her experience with her kid being stolen on Facebook.
Simelane claimed that later that day the alleged baby snatcher went to Hlabisa Hospital pretending to be the child’s biological mother in order to get the child a hospital card.
But it quickly became clear that her account was inconsistent when nurses at the Out-Patients Department (OPD) and in maternity questioned her about the infant and the circumstances of his birth.
She was instructed to go back to the hospital where the baby was delivered.
“Hospital management subsequently checked with the SAPS and were able to ascertain that a case of a stolen baby had been registered.
“The next day the alleged baby thief re-emerged at Hlabisa Hospital once again.
“As staff pretended to assist her, while deliberately delaying the ‘administrative process’, they surreptitiously called the police, who arrived shortly thereafter, along with the baby’s real mother.”
Simelane reportedly stated in the hospital report that there was not a single indication that the woman had recently given birth or was pregnant.
The baby’s mother’s cell phone was also discovered in her possession when the police arrived. The alleged baby thief was still sporting the same clothes from the day before.
Next, she was taken into custody.
Simelane claimed that the hospital took the infant in and provided medical care. He remains hospitalized and is being watched over for a specific minor condition.
Simelane continued by advising women not to gamble with their children.
Speaking on the Department’s popular weekly multimedia programme KwaZulu-Natal Health Chat on Friday, MEC Simelane said: “We would like to commend the nurses and doctors at Hlabisa Hospital for being proactive and alerting the police upon realizing that there was something amiss about this situation. We really thank them for what they’ve done. We all need to be vigilant, so we can curb the scourge of baby thefts in our society. “
“I’d also like to particularly urge all mothers to look after their children. You can’t just give your baby to a stranger in town, and say, ‘Please hold my baby, I’m going into the store.’ A baby isn’t like a bag or object, and must be with you at all times as the mother.
“Whether you’re going into the store or to the loo, take your baby with you. Do not trust anyone, because there are many people out there who are looking for children. Some steal babies because they don’t have them; others sell them; while others murder them and sell their body parts. So, we are really pleading with mothers to look after their children, so that we can get rid of this scourge.”