Another death in ECD centre

IN MOURNING: Thabiso Shilaku, Seipone Shilaku and social development MEC Nandi Mayathuka-Khoza who was paying her condolences to the family after the Shilaku’s 11-month-old son died at a daycare centre. PICTURE: HERBERT MATIMBA

CHILD safety in early childhood development centres has again come under the spotlight after an 11-month-old baby boy died at a crèche in Hammanskraal in Tshwane last Monday.

The baby had been at the school for only a week and reportedly died as a result of choking while being fed. Gauteng social development MEC Nandi Mayathuka-Khoza yesterday visited the family of Gofaone Shilaku who died in the hospital last Monday and was buried on Saturday.

Thabiso Shilaku, the child’s father, said he was called by his wife about 20 minutes after dropping off the child at the day care centre. “I woke up in the morning and prepared him and his brother, who goes to the same school. About 20 minutes later I received a call from my wife that the child had been taken to Jubilee Hospital. I went home and fetched her. When we got to the hospital, they took us to the counselling room. We were told the child had died,” the father said.

“Our first born went to the same school and we decided to take the young one there because we like the school. “We trust the school and their development. It was just unfortunate this incident happened.”

The social worker in charge of the case, Walter Motana, said he went to the school on Tuesday and the teachers are being provided counselling. “I explained to the staff what happened to the child,” he said. The department of social development said that they were notified by the school principal of the incident. The school is fully registered and has been operating since 2004. The mother Seipone, 24, said the child did not show any signs of sickness when he left home.

“The child was very playful when he left for school. He was going to be one on September 28. This is the same day his three-year-old brother was born. I had planned to send a cake to the school so they can celebrate with other children since they are born on the same day,” she said.

Mayathuka-Khoza sent her condolences to the parents. “As the department, we are perturbed about the recent spate of injuries or worse, death of babies in crèches and others which are not even registered. As we send our condolences to the family, we will leave no stone unturned to ensure these tragic incidents are brought to an end,” she said.

-Kutullo Madisha