A seven-year-old boy was found at a house in Umlazi, Durban, where he had been locked up along with dogs for about a month without food or water.
KwaZulu-Natal Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza said neighbours found the special needs child.
“The boy, who stayed with his father, was spotted by members of the public, standing inside the house [which was] secured with burglar guards and remained locked daily. It is believed that the boy was left in the care of his father by his grandmother,” Khoza said.
The father allegedly left the boy in the house more than a month ago, she added.
“We have been taken aback by the conditions the child was left in. We are more surprised and shocked than anything, because we never thought a parent could do such a thing to his own child. The child has been left in such a despicable condition. No child deserves to be treated like this and there is no explanation that can be accepted from the parents of this poor child,” she said.
A team of social workers was dispatched to provide the boy with psychosocial support.
The child has since been moved to a place of safety.
Khoza said: “It will not be enough to rescue the child from that condition. We also have to ensure that both parents face justice for child abuse and neglect.”
Khoza said she would push for those involved in any form of child abuse to feel the full force of the law.
“There should be no negotiations with abusers. As the Department of Social Development, we are leaving no stone unturned in dealing with such cases in our society. A number of children are brought up in unsafe homes. We encourage parents to make use of government help if they find themselves unable to take care of children,” the MEC said.
News24 approached the police to ask whether a criminal case was opened. Their comment will be added once received.
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