A newborn baby was kidnapped from the maternity ward at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley.
A NEWBORN baby was kidnapped from the maternity ward at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley earlier this week.
The distraught mother, Natasha Japhta, 26, was airlifted from De Aar to Kimberley after her baby, who was born on September 2, experienced lung problems.
She yesterday told the DFA that they were supposed to be discharged on Wednesday.
After filling in the discharge documents, the mother returned to find only the blanket inside the incubator.
“At first I thought that the nurses had taken her, but they told me that they were under the impression that she was with me. I was not expecting this to happen. I will not be able to leave until I can take my daughter home,” said Japhta.
“My baby was the only one who was dressed. She was last seen wearing a pink baby grow, a pink vest and socks and a peach knitted cap. The hair on her head was shaved short and her hands were still blue from the intravenous drip. She weighs 2.9 kilograms and has brown eyes. I was going to name her Nicole Lezaane but now I am uncertain if I should register her birth until she is found.”
She added that she noticed a light-skinned woman, who was wearing a gown and who covered her face, wandering around the corridors of the hospital.
“I believe that she suffered a miscarriage and left the hospital on Wednesday. I don’t know if she is the one who took my baby. Her pink gown was left inside the maternity ward and I gave it to the nurses.”
Her uncle, Herbert Japhta, stated that they will take legal action against the hospital.
“Even if there was a security strike, protective measures should have been put in place to prevent the kidnapping. We were only informed that the baby was missing on Thursday (yesterday) and suddenly there is security today, but it is now too late.
“This is a serious case of negligence that is being taken very lightly. Management said they have reported the matter to the police. The nurses are trying their best despite being overworked and understaffed.”
He added that they had sedated his niece and would offer her trauma counselling.
“We want answers – everything possible must be done to get the baby back. It appears as if the CCTV cameras at the hospital are not functioning. Perhaps if we were informed sooner, we could have located the baby by now. We do not know if she is still in the city or inside the hospital.”
Other parents at the hospital are now worried about their babies’ safety and stated that they were in a hurry to take their children home.
They added that due to strike action there was no security on duty since last week.
One father stated that he only saw three police officers at the hospital after the incident.
“I thought the hospital would be crawling with police but it does not appear as if the kidnapping is being taken seriously. My baby was in the same incubator as the missing baby but was luckily moved after the 2.30pm feed.”
Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lulu Mxekezo confirmed that a missing persons case has been reported to the police.
“The case is being investigated by the police and they are giving regular updates to the chief executive officer of the hospital. Due to sensitivity and confidentiality, no more details on the case can be provided at this stage,” said Mxekezo.
She added that the safety of all patients and personnel remains a priority for the department.
The Kimberley SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences unit has requested assistance in finding a newborn baby girl.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Sergio Kock said it was alleged that the baby was stolen from a hospital in Kimberley on September 6 at approximately 5pm.
“Anyone with information is requested to call Detective Sergeant Nomondo Mothelesi on 068 772 9176, or SMS anonymously to 32211 or the MySAPS app.
“All information will be treated as confidential. The investigation continues.”