The mother of a three-year-old girl in Limpopo has lashed out at a crèche that allowed her daughter to wonder off to a pot of hot water near an open fire, leaving her with burn wounds to both hands.

Grace Nemadodzi, 37, whose child was at daycare in Guyuni village, Hembe, said she was in shock when she got a call to say her child was at the Guyuni clinic.

The little girl had sustained burn wounds to both hands after dipping them in hot water meant to be used to wash dishes. Health care workers have said, while the child’s wounds will take a while to heal, she was lucky to not have sustained permanent injuries.

“It was on a Thursday midday and I was still at work when I got a call to say I had to get to the clinic as my child had been injured, but the woman from the daycare centre did not say why,” said Nemadodzi.

I heard her screaming so loud and when I went outside, she was already wounded.”

“I rushed from work to home. It took me about 35 minutes to reach the clinic. I almost fainted when I saw my little angel sleeping on a bed with her both hands covered with bandages. I cried even though I had no idea why she was like that,” said Nemadodzi.

Mashudu Ndou, a nanny at Guyuni crèche, said it only took a moment for the incident to occur. “That little girl is very smart. She enjoys playing around the outside area. It was just one moment, a mistake, and she managed to get outside where we had a fire going to start cooking. She put both her hands in a pan full of hot water, which was next to the table and meant for cleaning the plates.

“I heard her screaming so loud and when I went outside, she was already wounded. I immediately took her to the clinic and called her mother. It pains me to see her like this,” said a distraught Ndou.

A nurse at the clinic, Mercy Rabali, said the child was in great pain and screaming so loudly when she arrived at the clinic. “Luckily she arrived earlier before the real damage to her skin was done. We treated her and applied cream on her wounds so the pain could be reduced.

“She will be okay but the wounds will take some time to heal,” said Rabali.

Nemadodzi said that while she knew mistakes happen “how can a three-year-old child be neglected in a way that she even reaches that fire place without anyone knowing? I am planning on taking her to another creche because I do fear for her life now.

“I can no longer trust them to look after her for me. I would advice all the people working at day care centres to look after the children like they promise to when we take our children to them.

“I am just relieved that my daughter is going to be fine after the incident,” said the mother.