The Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD) has made the decision to close down all baby savers utilised by care centres, which has stirred up controversy. Despite the illegality of abandoning babies, baby savers have been operational in the country for 25 years. The DSD’s actions have sparked debate, with some arguing that these facilities have protected babies who might otherwise be abandoned in dangerous locations.
Bronwynn Engelbrecht, the DA’s Gauteng spokesperson for the Department of Social Development, emphasised that these babies are not being dumped but rather left in baby savers because of challenging circumstances such as rape and poverty. She suggested that the DSD should work with the baby-saver facilities to address this issue rather than shutting them down.
Whitney Rosenburg, co-founder and chairperson of Baby Saver South Africa, expressed shock at the decision to close these facilities, asserting that baby savers protect children’s rights to life and human dignity. She explained that there are no functional alternatives for mothers in crises.
Liezl Linda van der Merwe, MP for the IFP and spokesperson on social development, pointed out that child abandonment is a serious issue, often involving young and vulnerable mothers who feel they have nowhere to turn.
The debate revolves around the importance of preserving these baby-saver facilities to provide a safe and humane option for desperate mothers in need, even though the practice of abandoning babies is illegal. The closure of these facilities has raised concerns about the potential increase in unsafe child abandonment, with some arguing that a collaborative approach with the DSD would be more effective in addressing this complex issue.
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Photo: Supplied by Citizen