Woman ‘Adopts’ Neighbour’s Child

A GROOT AUB woman has ‘adopted’ a one-month-old boy who was burned when his mother allegedly set their shack alight early this month.

The boy’s mother (31), Waltroudt Bezuidenhout, has been in police custody since the incident occurred on 1 May.

Groot Aub station commander, who gave his name as Ithete, could neither confirm nor deny yesterday, referring all questions to police spokesperson Edwin Kanguatjivi.

Reached for comment, Kanguatjivi said he did not know anything about the case.

Speaking to The Namibian yesterday, the neighbour, Lavinia Matheus, said she chose to take in her neighbour’s child, Johannes Ashipala, since the mother is in custody for attempted murder, while the boy’s father, Gotfried Ashipala (43), is mentally unfit to take care of the child.

Matheus said the baby was left alone on the evening when the shack was burned down. She also said Bezuidenhout, whom she accused to be an alcoholic and a drug dealer, had threatened to burn down the shack weeks before the incident.

“She wrapped the baby in a blanket before placing him on the bed and then set the shack on fire. She left him to burn to death and escaped to spend the evening at another neighbour’s house,” Matheus alleged.

She said the neighbourhood was awakened by the baby’s cries, and that she rushed over to find that Bezuidenhout’s shack was on fire.

Matheus said she then went inside the shack to rescue the baby, who sustained injuries on his buttocks and legs. She then rushed him to a nearby clinic.

“It turned out the boy had miraculously kicked the blanket that he was wrapped in and it fell to the ground, preventing him from sustaining serious injuries,” Matheus said.

She said the boy’s father is still recovering from shock and has been bed-ridden since the incident.

“He was traumatised when he heard what happened to his son and then his own mother passed away around the same time, so I’m now forced to raise the boy myself,” she said, adding that she will look after the boy until he turns three.

“The only other known relative of the boy is his mother’s cousin but she cannot raise him as she is currently working in a hotel in Windhoek,” she said.

Bezuidenhout’s cousin Helen Bezuidenhout said she was unable to take in the boy because of her hectic job. She, however, said she will assist Matheus with clothes and anything else the boy needs.

Source : The Namibian