CAPE TOWN – A stepfather of an 18-month-old boy who died from severe injuries apparently claimed the child had breathing difficulties and they fell on their way to the clinic, a community policing forum official said on Tuesday.
Kensington CPF secretary Cheslyn Steenberg said this was the version the stepdad gave them after the child was declared dead at the Factreton Clinic on Monday.
The stepfather, 26, brought the boy into the clinic with serious injuries to the head and body.
Police arrested him and took the child’s mother, 30, in for questioning.
“We are upholding the principle of innocent until proven guilty. But we condemn this incident to the highest degree,” Steenberg told News24.
He was shocked upon hearing that there may have been long-term abuse.
It was understood that the mother was pregnant with their child, and also had two young girls.
The stepfather apparently took care of the children during the day while the mother was at work.
Steenberg said the girls were taken to a place of safety and would also be questioned.
“We don’t know what really happened. It is a shock to the entire community.”
At the same time, he believed someone must have known or seen something.
“If they know there is abuse, they must report it. The residents must have heard his cries. They could have done something but it was not enough. Why can’t we constantly hammer social workers and police to come out and see what is happening?”
Family and friends were being offered the relevant support.
Western Cape police had not yet responded to an enquiry on when the man was set to appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.