South Africa: Government Welcomes Sentence in Baby X Case

Government has welcomed the 20-year sentence imposed on the Chatsworth mother found guilty of abusing and killing her three-year-old daughter, dubbed Baby X.

The Durban High Court on Thursday sentenced the mother to 20 years in prison for murdering her toddler daughter, who had endured being beaten, starved, burnt with cigarettes, had chilli powder put in her nappy and tied to a bed at night.

The baby's grandmother, who was also charged with the murder and assault, died of natural causes this year while awaiting trial in Westville prison.

"As a nation, we must never tolerate any form of abuse against children. The law should continue to be harsh and show no mercy towards the perpetrators of child abuse. As a society, we must expose these abusers and we must act to prevent abuse of children in our communities," said Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting Director General Phumla Williams.

Williams said government will not stop speaking out about "these barbaric acts, until we rid our society of such acts".

Government has put in place child protection mechanisms such as legislation and international instruments that the country has ratified as a commitment to the protection of children's rights.

Key among these is Section 28 of the Constitution, which specifically deals with and lays the foundation of children's rights.

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