Family of cop in stormwater drain baby case takes mom in
The woman charged with attempted murder is out on bail
A policeman instrumental in the arrest of a Durban woman, accused of the attempted murder of her newborn baby, has opened a relative’s home to her after she was granted bail on Wednesday.
The woman, who cannot be identified to protect the identity of the baby, will live in the home of a policeman’s relative for the duration of the court case.
She stands accused of dumping the baby girl down a stormwater drain in Newlands East two weeks ago.
Christened Sibanisethu by the community, the baby was plucked from the drain in a dramatic four-hour rescue.
A week later the 32-year-old mother of two other children, including a 15-year-old boy and nine-year-old girl, was arrested in hospital.
The first appearance in connection with the attempted murder proceeded without her as she was receiving treatment in hospital.
On Wednesday the public gallery of Court B at the Ntuzuma Magistrates’ Court was packed with the woman’s relatives, including her mother.
Dressed in a grey sweater bearing the slogan “Vote for Girls” and in blue jeans, she appeared withdrawn and pale as she took the dock.
Before the application for bail began, magistrate Ravi Pillay ruled that the media was prohibited from taking photographs of the accused or her family.
This after defence attorney Jacques Botha lodged an objection to a request from various media houses to take pictures of the woman without identifying her.
Prosecutor Seema Reddy told the court the state would not oppose bail because the woman was not a flight risk.
When Reddy touched on the baby’s condition during the proceedings, the woman bowed her head as some of her relatives teared up in the gallery.
“The baby suffered no broken bones or any other injuries. The baby is in good health and is still in hospital,” Reddy told the court.
Botha asked that the warrant officer’s address not be “broadcast” in court to allow the woman privacy and to prevent hounding by the media.
He alluded to the fact that the woman was suffering with peri and postnatal depression. He did not provide further information.
The court also heard the woman was not well-travelled, did not possess a passport, was single, unemployed and had no previous convictions.
Botha said the policeman who was instrumental in the woman’s arrest would take her into his home.
“There is an amount of R5,000 available. The money has been raised by her family.”
Botha said the family was “equally surprised and distraught by the matter, as is the accused”.
Before granting her bail of R5,000, the magistrate ordered the woman not to have any contact with her three biological children, including the baby.
She is also banned from entering the district of Newlands or having any contact with the state witness.
The woman was also ordered to live at the residential address, supplied to the court, until the case was finalised.
The case was adjourned to April 8 for further investigations, which included a DNA test.