Wednesday, August 05, 2009

"better for me to abuse my baby than for her to be abused by someone else"

The sight often drives people mad.

A mother standing at a busy intersection begging for money, while her child sits on the road's hard surface inhaling fumes burped out by the passing cars.

The problem has become so bad in Midrand that the police and the Department of Social Development have intervened by arresting parents and taking their children to shelters.

Despite being assured that their children are taken care of and properly fed, the parents are spitting fire - they say they'd rather have their children suffer at their hands than those of a stranger.

"We agree that we are abusing our children, but it's better for me to abuse my baby than for her to be abused by someone else," said Teresa Hudya, a Zimbabwean single mother.

The 25-year-old is one of the parents who had their children taken away.

They're claiming their children are neglected and not getting the medical attention some of them need at the New Jerusalem Children's Home.

Hudya said they were caught while begging at the New Road intersection in Midrand in July.

"The social workers were accompanied by police and they said we were abusing our children. They held us in a cell for about two hours before taking our children away."

The matter went to court and the parents were told that to get their children back they should find someone who would look after them while they (the parents) tried to earn a living.

New Jerusalem Children's Home founder and managing director Anna Mojapelo said the children weren't well fed and did not have access to health services because of a lack of documentation, even before coming to the home.

Parents, who could visit their children three days a week for four hours a day, had been causing trouble.

"On Tuesday one parent was sitting outside and realised that she could dash (with her child), and she did just that. We were scared because we didn't know where they were staying," said Mojapelo.

She went to the Midrand police station to report the case but found the mother had already been caught.

Community members saw her with the child and reported her.

Mojapelo said the parents did not want to co-operate with the home.

"When they come here they are viciously angry."

Joyce Tlou, a senior researcher for the Non-Nationals and Migrations Programme at the SA Human Rights Commission, said the issue was difficult to deal with because two human rights were conflicting with one another.

"The best interest of the child is paramount.

"We understand why the Department of Social Development would intervene. But at the same time, we have to balance that with the challenge that the poorest are trying to earn a living and don't have a safety net because they can't access social services.

"This presents a dilemma, as it intercepts the child's right and the right to a family unit."

Mandla Sidu, spokesman for the Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development, said: "The city and the department came up with a project to take the kids to a day-care facility where they could return to their parents each day.

"That project wasn't successful because the parents were afraid of being parted from their children and feared deportation."

4 Opinion(s):

FishEagle said...

I'm always acutely aware of the problem that there are too many people using up earth's resources. My first thought when children or parents beg from me is that the parents chose to have children so they must deal with it. The kids must know when they grow up there will be consequences if they had kids of their own without the resources to support them. I'm pretty cold hearted on this issue and I will change when people stop breeding so prolifically.

Viking said...

FE, I don't think you're cold hearted I agree with you completely (or maybe I am too!)
There's one beggar near where I live that has FOUR children begging with her. Maybe she's just borrowed them for the day, or maybe they're hers, it doesn't matter.
In a country where abortion is free there is no excuse.
Most middle class people I know have to carefully calculate how many kids they can afford and when they can have them, and these useless idiots just keep popping them out. I have no sympathy.

One employee I had once was a 27 year old Zim refugee, whose boyfriend (not husband) was also from Zim. She got pregnant and when I asked her what the hell she was thinking she replied it "was time" to make a baby. With that kind of reasoning who is surprised at the result?

Anonymous said...

Much of this crap could have been avoided if our government would have the brains to implement proper border control. Now its the problem of the South African tax payer again.

Dachshund said...

Those kids are not even the street beggars' own. They find them anywhere on the street, in rubbish bins, you name it. It's better business in packs.