South Africa

Miracle in Helushe: Newborn boy rescued from church rubble

Newborn Rescued from Church Rubble

An ordinary church service turned into an infant rescue for congregants in Helushe village, Eastern Cape, after a newborn baby boy was found under rubble on Sunday morning.

At around 9:45 am, the Methodist Church of Southern Africa stewards opened the church and were preparing for their morning service when they heard crying, but they were not sure if it was a cat or something else.

The church circuit superintendent, Reverend Zandisile Mngcita, said the first steward heard the crying but decided to wait until other stewards arrived to investigate the sound coming from a newly-built addition to the church.

Baby found under iron sheets and bricks

Mngcita said the stewards arrived at the extension, which has a partially-roofed building, and heard the crying coming from under some offcuts from the iron sheets used for the roof and bricks on top.

“When they removed the bricks and iron sheets, they found a baby covered in dirt underneath. They immediately called the police and an ambulance,” the reverend said.

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He added that while they waited for the police to arrive, the female congregants washed the baby boy, who appeared to be only a couple of days old.

“He still had his umbilical cord attached,” Mngcita said.

MEC condemns abandoning children

The Eastern Cape MEC for Social Development, Bukiwe Fanta, thanked the congregants for their speedy work in ensuring that the child was safe.

She further condemned the abandoning of children instead of handing them over to social workers after the incident.

“The Department has acted swiftly and ensured assessment of the matter for appropriate intervention, and as such, the child (upon discharge from the hospital) will be placed in a registered Child and Youth Care Centre,” Fanta said.

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“This will further be followed by a more sustainable alternative care option that will bring stability and permanency to the child, done through exploring family-based alternative care placement options like foster care and adoption.”

She also encouraged communities to come forward and approach social workers should they realise that they will be unable to take care of their children, including unborn children.

Child and Youth Care Centres

“The Department takes issues of care and protection of children seriously. The Eastern Cape Province has 27 registered and funded NPOs for Child and Youth Care Centres that are all positioned to receive, admit, and care for children in need of care and protection, including abandoned children,” Fanta said.

The MEC added that the department also has three state-run child and youth care centres.

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Mngcita added that he went to the hospital on Monday morning to check on the infant.

“I arrived, and the baby was doing well; everything is all right,” he said.