Child of SA woman in Senegalese prison comes home

Child of SA woman in Senegalese prison comes home

Child of SA woman in Senegalese prison comes home

The Department of Social Development has successfully repariated a toddler who was being held in a Dakar prison in Senegal.
The department’s social workers arrived at OR Tambo International Airport on Sunday with a two-year-old baby who was born in Senegal and has been in the care of the mother who was arrested last year for drug trafficking.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) through its International Social Services (ISS) Directorate notified the Department of Social Development in August 2023 that the biological mother of the child had been arrested last year in February. 
“It is reported that within days of her incarceration, she gave birth to the child. Due to the mother’s incarceration, the child is considered to be in distress since prison is not a conducive environment for the upbringing of the child.” 
The South African government through the DIRCO initiated the process of repatriating the child by first visiting the mother to ascertain her wishes about her child. 
“The mother nominated the grandmother of the child as the guardian in the country while she serves her sentence in Senegal,” said the Department of Social Development (DSD) in a statement.
The National DSD then requested the Eastern Cape provincial department to investigate the circumstances of the nominated foster parent to assess suitability to care for the child.
“The child will be integrated with the mother’s family in the Eastern Cape and the department will continue providing child protection services and provide support to the family.” 
The department said it was obligated by Section 7, subsection (1), (f), (ii), of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 that a child needs to maintain a connection with their family, extended family, culture, or tradition and all decisions must be made in the best interest of the child. 
Social Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu, said the department will always put the best interest of the child first. 
“However, we remain concerned about the issue of drugs and what it can do to children. This unborn baby ended up in distress in a foreign country because the mother was arrested for trafficking drugs. We cannot stress more the importance of young people to make the right decisions about their lives,” the Minister added. 
Since 2015, the department has repatriated 21 children in distress in foreign countries. 
According to the data, seven were repatriated in Zimbabwe; three in Brazil; two each in Malawi, Mozambique, Canada and Tanzania; and one each in Ghana, the United Kingdom, Peru, Mauritius and Senegal. – SAnews.gov.za
 

Gabisile
Sun, 03/10/2024 – 15:18

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