JOHANNESBURG – Jobless mothers in South Africa’s economic hub are finding life so tough that they commit the unspeakable. They are, according to the SA Medical Research Council, the primary perpetrators of baby killings. Their own babies. The research, drawn from legal and medical data from 38 laboratories across the country found that in more than 80 per cent of cases the cause of unnatural baby deaths is abandonment. Producer Ntokozo Sindane tackles a troubling sign of the times.
No reliable statistics exist to fully quantify the problem, but researchers say that the first six days of life are the most risky for infants who die an unnatural death. The perpetrators are often those that gave them life – their mothers. This even though abortion has been legal in South Africa for close on 20 years. As Ntokozo Sindane found out, infanticide is a crime that’s seldom prosecuted.
It is estimated that 3 children a day are murdered in South Africa, which begs the question – how effective are our family planning programmes and policies? We sat down with the Health Minister and asked him whether government’s reproductive health policies are failing?