A 16-YEAR-OLD girl from Nkulumane suburb was brought before the courts facing charges of neglecting her 14-month-old baby by dumping her at a neighbour’s home and disappearing for three months.
This came to light when the mother (name withheld to protect her) appeared before Western Commonage provincial magistrate Willard Mafios Moyo.
She was accused of contravening section 7(i) of the Children’s Act for ill-treating a child and she pleaded guilty to the charge.
She was slapped with a six-month jail term, with two months conditionally suspended for five years. The remaining four months were suspended on condition that she performs 140 hours of community service at Queen Elizabeth Primary School in Nkulumane, Bulawayo.
The teenage mother ran away from home to stay with her boyfriend, whom she did not inform about the child.
In her defence, the girl told the court that she went out only to buy airtime when her child’s father called requesting to meet her so they could discuss the child’s upkeep.
“I went to meet him, but he did not show up until it was late and I became afraid of going back home. I headed to my boyfriend’s place,” she said. “I could not go back home because I knew my mother would be angry with me and probably hit me.”
Prosecutor Nomzamo Ndlovu told the court that sometime in January, the juvenile left her 14-month-old daughter at their neighbour’s home saying she would be coming back shortly.
The neighbours realised that the girl was not returning and took the baby to her grandmother.
The girl was seen selling buns near Sokusile shopping centre after some months.
Her mother called the police who arrested her for dumping the baby.