Hanyani Secondary School pupil Ndaedzo Magau, 20, has been charged with concealment of birth after neighbours discovered a foetus in their yard in Phalama village about 150 kms outside of Makhado, Limpopo.
According to Mutale police spokesperson Warrant Officer Tshilidzi Nyambeni, the foetus was discovered by a woman in her yard after she had returned home from work.
“The woman smelled something bad… but she could not establish were the smell was coming from,” Nyambeni told OurHealth.
“When her children came back, they also complained about the smell,” he added. “ After some searching, they discovered a foetus, which was lying under a tree inside their yard.”
According to Nyambeni, the family later realised their dog had dug up the body from a shallow grave in a neighbouring yard. The family informed a local leader in the Vhembe District, Thiathu Tuwani, who informed police.
Magau has allegedly confessed that she dumped the foetus and is currently out on bail.
A 2012 study conducted among about 270 girls in Vhembe’s Thulamela Municipality found that about half of the girls surveyed reported using contraception, which mostly consisted of male condoms. However, 60 percent of the girls reported that they did not regularly use reproductive health services, about a third of whom reported being too shy and 20 percent said that accessing reproductive health services was not culturally allowed.
As part of the study, girls also reported feeling unable to discuss contraception with parents and sexual partners. While many were aware about emergency contraception, few could explain when and how to take it.
Magau is expected to appear before the local magistrate court by the end of January. Meanwhile, a case of negligence has been opened against the Mutale officers who were on duty when the baby’s body disapeared from police custody before it could be assessed by a pathologist, according to Nyambeni.