Pretoria – THE mother whose newborn baby vanished at Refentse Public Clinic in Stinkwater in May has revealed what a senior official told her following the incident.
Gloria Mhlongo this week revealed the official at the clinic told her, “we actually did you a favour by disposing of your baby because you wouldn’t have been able to afford a coffin”.
The 26-year-old mother continues to search for answers as to what happened to her son who disappeared shortly after she gave birth to him. To date, she still had no answers, she said, and had not received counselling.
Speaking to the Pretoria News at her home in New Eersterust near Soshanguve at the weekend, Mhlongo said the past five months have been hell.
Shortly after the news of the disappearance of the baby surfaced, the Department of Health launched an investigation, but Mhlongo said this was taking forever.
“Every time I see people who were also pregnant at that time, holding their babies, my heart just breaks. This thing has affected me very badly; the past few months have been hell.
“Actually, the entire community is also affected and we would like to know what happened. I think I’m getting this unfair treatment because we are poor,” she said.
Mhlongo said she was never given any feedback on the condition of the baby after giving birth, and neither was she shown the child.
According to her, the baby was born prematurely and taken away by a nurse shortly after she gave birth. She was told it was a boy, and then she never saw him again. Mhlongo maintains her child is alive. “I think my child was sold. Why can’t they show us the body if he is dead?”
Recalling the day it happened, she said she had arrived at the clinic in excruciating pain. She claimed she wasn’t given any medical assistance until a cleaner called a nurse who eventually put her on a drip and checked her blood pressure.
“When I tried to get up to see the baby, the nurse told me to lie down. I saw him lying there and he was breathing. The nurse went to weigh him and after that she told me my child was a boy. She had a plastic bag in her hand in which she placed him and turned her back on me.”
The DA stepped in to help the family and Mhlongo get answers, and constituency chairperson Michael Ngobeni has been assisting. He said the party suspected there was a syndicate getting babies from the clinic.
“There is no justice in this thing, hence we are still looking for answers even today I’m saying that even if there is a foetus the family deserves to know what happened; they deserve to see it so that they can find closure.”
Ngobeni said they had been trying to meet with the sister who helped Mhlongo give birth with no success.
DA spokesperson for health, Jack Bloom, said the department had failed to act promptly on the case.
He said MEC Gwen Ramokgopa stated in a legislature question paper that the investigation was delayed because the implicated nurse had been on sick leave.
“There is something really fishy about this. There is a mother who doesn’t know what happened to her baby. Where is the body?”
Department’s spokesperson Lesemang Matuka said the investigation would be concluded soon.
“Our investigation is at an advanced stage to enable conclusion of the matter. Finalisation is expected in a week’s time,” said Matuka, noting that the implicated nurse had returned from leave.