AN OLD Pumula woman is cashing in on sex workers who do not have child minders by charging them a fee to look after the children overnight while they pursue their activities.
Sipho Ndlovu, popularly known as Gogo, declined to reveal her age, when she told Southern Eye that she makes a living by looking after children of ladies of the night who frequent the city’s night spots and bars selling sex.
Ndlovu, a former lady of the night herself, said she does this so that the women can go about their business without having to worry about the safety of their children or leaving them alone at home while they “work”.
“These girls are trying to make ends meet and the only way for them is to sell their bodies since there are no jobs,” Ndlovu said.
“Most of them do not have relatives who can look after their children or do not want their relatives to know what business they are into, so I provide these services to them. All that I need from them is that they pay my dues everyday in the morning when they come to pick up their children,” she said.
Ndlovu said she would not just accept any woman’s child without cetain conditions being met as this might create problems for her.
She said for her to look after any woman’s child overnight, the mother had to attend some form of interview in person. For a woman to be interviewed, she had to bring an original identity document (ID).
“Those who are serious must be prepared to bring their IDs and leave their phone numbers.
These are the two prerequisites that I demand from the girls who work at night,” Ndlovu said.
She said the ID helps her track any problem woman because she was once stuck with a sex
woker’s child for two weeks.
Ndlovu said when she is satisfied that a client would not give her problems, she charges $5 per child per night. In addition, she also requires the women to buy groceries, which include 5kg mealie-meal, 2kg sugar and peanut butter every month. This is for women who regularly leave their children with her.
“They must deliver these groceries first before they leave their children so that I see how ‘committed’ they are to the cause of their children,” Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu’s neighbour Samukeliso Ncube said they were disturbed by her activities because she was not a trained or registered child minder and for her to look after a lot of children at night was cause for concern.
Ncube said what has disturbed her was that some of the children were still breastfeeding and when they asked her how she coped looking after so many kids, her response was shocking.
“She told us that when a child cries, she just gives them two tablespoons of cough syrup and they just fall asleep depending on the age of the child. How can she give a baby cough syrup simply because the child is crying? Certainly something must be done before children start dying here,” Ncube said.
Another neighbour Ntombizile Ncube said they suspected that Ndlovu gave the children the cough syrup Histalix D, popularly known as ngoma in the suburb, because of its high alcohol content.
“What MaNdlovu is doing is bad and negatively influencing young girls in our community and we appeal to the authorities to do something about her illegal activities before something terrible happens,” she said.
A local paediatrician said children exposed to cough syrups like Histalix D were likely to suffer from addiction and
sleep deprivation because they would become dependent on the drug.
“There is a danger that the children won’t be able to sleep without taking a dosage of Histalix D, so kids should never be given this type of drug. In fact, all types of medication drugs should only be taken after a prescription by a medical doctor,” the doctor said.
“These children can also experience behavioural problems such as violent tempers. They can also be unpredictable.”
The councillor for the area Clayton Zana, said he was not aware of Ndlovu’s activities and promised to investigate the matter and take action. I am not aware of such a thing. I will investigate the matter to find out what is really happening,” Zana said.