The Mzamomhle creche where an eight-month-old baby died last week was not registered with the relevant authority.
The department of social development is now assisting the community to “track down the owner” before deciding whether to close it or formalise it, said social development provincial spokesman Mzukisi Solani yesterday.
The creche has been closed since little Kungawo Skepu died at Unako Daycare, a three-room shack in Mzamomhle’s G-section informal settlement in East London.
Last week the creche owner, Ntobencinci Mkhobeli, told the Daily Dispatch that Kungawo was already ill when he was dropped off by his father, Sandile Mcwakubana.
But the toddler’s family accuse the informal creche of negligence.
Kungawo’s lifeless body was found lying on a small mattress on the floor in one of the creche’s rooms. He was declared dead on the scene by paramedics.
The creche catered for 23 children up to five years old.
Even though the postmortem results ruled out any foul play, revealing Kungawo had died of natural causes, Mcwakubana believes the owner could have prevented the toddler’s death by checking up on him regularly. Mcwakubana also accused Mkhobeli of lying to the media about his son being ill on that same morning.
“If she [Mkhobeli] claims he was ill when I brought him in that morning, why did she not inform me so I could take the child to the clinic? She could have called me to fetch my son. She knows where I live and has my phone number but she didn’t because my son was not sick,” the child’s father said.
“If the child was sick as she claims, why didn’t they check up on him regularly while he was sleeping?”
Last week, Mkhobeli told the Dispatch, Kungawo had fever symptoms – including a high temperature and blocked nose. He died in his sleep at around mid-morning.
Several phone calls to Mkhobeli went unanswered yesterday.
Solani said they had also struggled to contact Mkhobeli as she had closed the creche.
“We are working with the community to trace her. The department will be giving a lot of attention to this matter if there is any proof of negligence. Authorities need to investigate and if the owner was found to be negligent, she must account,” said Solani.
Asked what action Bhisho would take in regard to the daycare, Solani said its fate would be decided by the community.
“We will have to listen to the community. If they want the creche to be closed, we will close it and if they want it to be formalised we will formalise it.
“Remember such centres are established by communities and we can’t just close them without consulting the community,” said Solani. Police have opened an inquest case into the matter.
Kungawo will be buried today in Mdantsane. — email@example.com