The grotesque sight sent shivers down the spines of those who saw how the babies were thrown away with reckless abandon. Some of them somehow survive shallow graves, hours in murky pit toilets and cold, stinking dump sites.
But this wasn’t to be for two baby girls who were found dead in Sandton – one after being found stuffed in a blood draining bread packet over the weekend.
The first baby was found on Sunday in a dustbin near a shopping centre in Woodmead and the other newborn was found in a dustbin across the road from Netcare Sunninghill Hospital on Friday night.
Netcare spokesperson Chris Botha said paramedics from Sunninghill Hospital were alerted by a homeless man who said he had found a baby in a rubbish bin across the road.
“The paramedics went across the road and found a newborn baby girl stuffed into a bread packet.”
“Tragically, they found that the baby had died before their arrival. The cause of death will form part of the police investigation,” Botha said.
In a separate discovery, a baby girl was found wrapped in a blanket in a dustbin in Woodmead.
Identical to the Sunninghill discovery, a man going through the dustbin found the baby.
ER24 spokesperson Werner Vermaak said the man called security guards at the shopping complex, who later contacted paramedics and the police.
Sadly, there was nothing that paramedics could do for the little girl.
It appeared as if she had been dumped during the early hours of the morning. She was later declared dead by paramedics, he said.
Despite there being no statistics quantifying the number of abandoned children, reports have suggested that around 3 500 children are abandoned annually in South Africa.
This translates to around 300 children a month.
In her research paper titled “Sad, Bad and Mad”, Deirdre Elizabeth Blackie said 65% of abandoned children are newborns, 90% of whom are under the age of one.
Blackie further said 70% of children are abandoned in unsafe areas which include toilets, drains, sewers and gutters.
These were followed by rubbish sites, dustbins, landfills, parks and the veld.
It is estimated that 200 babies are found abandoned in greater Joburg and Soweto every month.
On average, only 60 are found alive each month.
“These babies in dustbins, gutters or dumps – who are aborted or miscarried newborns being disposed of – are becoming a large part of undetermined deaths (of young children) in Gauteng,” said Professor Jeanine Vellema during a recent presentation on fatal injuries in the province.