SA toddler arrived in the country after being repatriated from Mozambique


The Minister of Social Development, Olive Dlamini, welcomed a young three-year-old South African boy in Johannesburg yesterday, after he was repatriated from Mozambique.

The department’s Lumka Oliphant says the boy has been living in a Mozambican prison with his mother, who originates from the Free State. She is serving time after being convicted for drug trafficking. Oliphant says the child’s mother was pregnant when she left South Africa a few years ago. She travelled from Brazil and tried to re-enter her country of birth via Mozambique, where she was arrested.

According to Oliphant  the department is obligated by the Children’s Act to ensure that South African children who are distressed in foreign countries, are protected and repatriated. She says it is a lengthy process involving negotiations between the involved countries.

After involved embassies indicate that there is a child who needs to be repatriated, the process begins by interviewing the mother and finding out where she wants her child to be taken. Foster parents are identified with whom the child can be integrated, once he or she arrives back in South Africa. Oliphant explains that most foreign countries dictate children who were born in prisons are not allowed to stay with their mothers for a long period.

According to her, children are allowed to stay with their mothers in South African prisons for up to three years. Oliphant says the department has repatriated a total of 18 children back to the country between 2005 and 2015.

She did not want to reveal where in the Free State the boy will be taken, to be in the care of extended family members. – Christal-Lize Muller & Cathy Dlodlo