21 February 2018

South Africa: Ending the Silent Massacre of Children, One Life At a Time


As the Life Esidimeni hearing drew to an agonising close, child protection activists warned that South Africa is experiencing a silent massacre of children: the ongoing deaths of ones and twos which adds up to horrifying numbers. This is what makes Tumelo's story of a life saved so significant.

It has been a bad start to the year for child protection advocates, with at least three cases of violent child murder coming to trial in the space of as many weeks. Troublingly, most of these deaths were preventable.

In the appalling "Baby Dylan" case which is already well under way, a case with details of abuse and torture so horrific that even the magistrate had to call a recess after seeing photos of the three-year old's injuries, doctors flagged the child's abuse just months before his death. But a social worker allocated to the case apparently investigated and then chose not to take the matter any further. Three months later, Dylan* was dead after his mother's partner allegedly boasted of having "fucked him up". While the social worker allocated to the case has not had the opportunity to defend her choice to leave the child in his family home, it...

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