“Negligent” mother says neighbours informed her of infant’s death

Francois Lottering

WINDHOEK, MAY 14 – The mother that was accused of neglecting her children – that included a three month old girl who had allegedly passed on – has set the record straight after coming out in public and showing that the baby is still alive.  This, a far cry from claims that the baby had died as a result of malnutrition and dehydration.

An incident where members of the Havana community called the City Police reporting a case of a single mother that locked her four children in a shack had shocked the community, after it had been alleged that the three month old baby passed on later the night after she and her three siblings were admitted to hospital.

The incident that took place on the last Friday of April and made for sensational front pages of various media houses.

Poppie de Koker, spoke to Namibia Daily News on Tuesday and said she was shocked to learn through her neighbors that her child passed away. After obtaining the local newspapers to confirm and read the stories herself, she decided to set the record straight and show her child to the media.

De Koker told this reporter that she had even been called to the offices of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare to answer about the death of her child. At a later stage, she went, in the presence of the City Police, to the 8th floor of the State hospital and showed them that all four children are alive and well.

“When I was discharged from the hospital (about two weeks ago), I went to my rental house in Havana and all the people from the community ran to me asking me about the baby that allegedly died and told me even the papers wrote about the child’s death” de Koker said.

She added that the three month old baby was never sick, and that it was only her younger sibling that had suffered a sickness, albeit one that was not life threatening.

She told this reporter that she was busy preparing her case as she wants to sue someone.

“Even the father of the child is unaware of the story, and once he hears about the story he will not be happy,” she added.

The mother also said she would like answers about which doctor had declared her child dead, and how the City Police got the news about the death of the child.

When Namibia Daily News visited the house in Havana a few days later after the event, the house was locked again with no soul in sight. Some of the neighbors said that they often took food over for the children to eat.

The NDN was also informed via a reliable source that the mother was “un-arrested” as she was grieving and give her time to prepare the child’s funeral.

When this reporter enquired about the information regarding the childs’ “alleged” death, no one could offer a positive or reasonable explanation about the confirmation of the death to the media.

When speaking to a senior ranking officer at the City Police, this reporter was informed that mistakes happen as there were other cases of child abuse reported to their office and a mix up could have happened.

No official statements could be obtained from the City Police on what happened and how this case will be handled.