SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT REPATRIATES A TODDLER FROM A SENEGAL PRISON

This was an unborn baby who 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.”
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  • Today, on 10 March 2024, social workers from the Department of Social Development arrived at OR Tambo International Airport, bringing with them a two-year-old child repatriated from a Dakar prison in Senegal, where the child’s mother was incarcerated for drug trafficking.
  • Following notification by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in August 2023, efforts were initiated to repatriate the child, whose mother gave birth to them shortly after her arrest last year. With the mother’s consent, the child will be under the care of their grandmother in the Eastern Cape.
  • This case underscores the department’s commitment to ensuring the best interests of the child, as mandated by the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. Since 2015, the department has repatriated 21 distressed children from various countries, highlighting the ongoing concern over the impact of drug-related issues on children’s lives.

The  Minister of Social Development is calling upon South African youth to make prudent life choices. This plea comes after social workers from the Department of Social Development arrived at OR Tambo International Airport with a two-year-old child repatriated from a Dakar prison in Senegal.

This follows a notification from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) through its International Social Services (ISS) Directorate back in August 2023. It was revealed that the child’s biological mother was arrested in February of the previous year and gave birth to the child shortly after her incarceration.

Recognizing the unsuitable conditions of a prison for a child’s upbringing, the South African government, through DIRCO, commenced the repatriation process. Initially, officials visited the mother to determine her wishes regarding her child’s future. The mother nominated the child’s family as the guardians in South Africa while she serves her sentence in Senegal.

Ensuring the welfare of the child, the national Department of Social Development engaged the Eastern Cape department to investigate the family’s circumstances and suitability to care for the child. The child is now set to be integrated with their family in the Eastern Cape, where ongoing child protection services and support will be provided by the department.

This case underscores the commitment of the Department of Social Development to uphold the best interests of the child, as mandated by the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. Since 2015, a total of 21 distressed children have been repatriated from various foreign countries. Reflecting on this responsibility, Social Development Minister, Ms. Lindiwe Zulu, emphasised the importance of prioritising the welfare of children, especially in contexts influenced by drug-related issues.

This was an unborn baby who 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.”

Since 2015, the department has repatriated 21 children in distress in foreign countries. Repatriated children by country:

Brazil 3

Malawi 2

Mozambique 2

Zimbabwe 7

Ghana 1

UK 1

Peru 1

Mauritius 1

Canada 2

Senegal 1

Tanzania 2

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