Gamalakhe councillor’s daughter tries to kill newborn baby

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SINDISIWE Duma, the daughter of a municipal councillor in Gamalakhe, was recently found guilty by Senior Magistrate Johann Bester in the Port Shepstone Regional Court of unlawfully and intentionally attempting to kill her newborn baby in Quinabout in September 2016.

Duma (32) pleaded not guilty and claimed the child had appeared to be stillborn and that she believed he was not alive when she wrapped him in a towel and placed him inside a cardboard box.

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Handing down judgement, Magistrate Bester  said that Duma, a former caregiver at a crèche in Gamalakhe, had been in a relationship with a Durban man in 2015. When she realised that she was four months pregnant and told him of her condition in April 2016, he reacted negatively to the news.  She was embarrassed by his attitude and did not tell her mother.

Some two months before she gave birth, she started a new relationship with Simphiwe Khowa, a man who had been a close friend of both her and her mother for many years.

Early on September 3, she gave birth to a baby boy at her aunt’s house. She wrapped a cloth around the child’s umbilical cord and a strip of lace around his neck. The infant was wrapped in a hand towel and placed in a narrow cardboard box, which was then set aside in a bathroom. She left and went to spend the night at her mother’s home.

That afternoon, Mr Khowa,  Sizwe and Thokozile Ngeleka were in a tavern near the the aunt’s house. It was very noisy in the tavern and Mr Khowa suggested that the three take their drinks  to the house. Mr Khowa knew Duma was at her mother’s home and arranged for a key to the aunt’s house.

The trio was sitting in the dining room when the cries of a baby led them to the bathroom where they found the infant, face down, in the cardboard box.

When Duma was questioned about this, she flatly denied that she had placed the baby face down and suggested that, had she done so, the baby would not have survived. She accused Ms Ngeleka of lying as she was intoxicated at the time.

At the Gamalakhe clinic Duma denied being the mother of the child. She only owned up when she realised she would be examined by nursing staff.

The doctor who examined the baby that evening reported an offensive smell, which he attributed to bacterial growth on the unwashed skin of the newborn.

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Duma accompanied the police to her aunt’s house and the box in which the infant had been placed was seized. Ms Duma was arrested.

Sister Nolitha Neno told the court that, when she took Duma aside for counselling and asked her why she had abandoned the child, Duma said the child’s father had died three months earlier and she was afraid of her mother as she had three children at her home already.

Duma confessed that she had wanted to kill the child and had planned to return to the house where the baby was left and, if he was dead, to bury the body.

The case has been postponed to August  pending a report from social workers.

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Shona Aylward
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