Statement issued by Thandi Nontenja – UDEMWO Secretary General

The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) believes that the publication and circulation of pictures of a woman leaving a new born baby at the premises of a safe house in Goodwood, Cape Town, is not the correct way of handling this situation.

It is quite possible that the Pink Ladies’ poster, and the subsequent sharing thereof, could put the woman in the photograph in danger. Vigilantism has to be considered and this woman may be good Samaritan, who will be persecuted. Even if it’s her baby, exposing her in this fashion makes a delicate situation untenable.

Far too often, women behave in this manner when they feel that they don’t have any options and there are a variety of reasons; extreme poverty, teenage pregnancy, violent homes, rape, societal ridicule and shame, a patriarchal society, ignorance, as well as psychological considerations such as postnatal depression; amongst others.

Societal inequalities unfortunately sometimes drive women to do desperate things and they require support, not condemnation. Also, if a safe haven’s trust with a community is broken, as would be the case with Ubuntu House, many women could feel forced to rather throw their new-borns in dustbins and pit toilets.

The Department of Social Development should do more to address this scourge in our society. In the same breath, the bigger picture should be addressed and Government has a responsibility to help our people to live safe and responsible lives in an environment that is conducive to economic independence and stability of each and every household.