The couple made the baby drink cool aid while the father ate the baby formula.

 The convicted couple appeared in the High Court sitting in Benoni on June 29. Photo: Ntombikayise Sibeko

A Pretoria couple who sold their baby boy for R500 during a police sting operation will next month hear their fate when they are sentenced at a sitting in the Benoni Magistrate’s Court on August 4.

The couple, who cannot be named to protect the identity of their four children, was convicted in November for child neglect, common assault and failure to register a child.

The wife was also found guilty of human trafficking.

It was put on record in court that after the baby was born in April 2020, they did not register the child at the Department of Home Affairs with the intention of selling the baby and for the baby not to be traced back to them.

During their latest court appearance on June 29 at a high court sitting in Benoni, accused one (the husband) failed to appear in court on time, causing the judge to adjourn the matter for hours while the investigating officer went to Modderbee Correctional Centre to look for him.

When he eventually arrived in court, he told the judge that he went to the wrong cell on June 28 as he was not aware that he was supposed to go to the holding cells for inmates who will be appearing in court the next day.

The court case was postponed to next month for sentencing.

Evidence presented in court

According to NPA North Gauteng spokesperson Lumka Mahanjana, a woman known as Saunders, who owned a food cart in Booysens met the couple around July/August 2020.

“She first met the husband, who asked her for food from her cart and the following day he brought his wife to introduce her and the baby, who was two months old at the time. The husband asked Saunders for R50 in order to buy nappies for the baby.

“Saunders asked her daughter-in-law to go buy them and gave them to the couple. From then on, Saunders continued to buy nappies and baby formula for the couple.”

Mahanjana said it was also put on record in court that the couple made the baby drink cool aid while the father ate the baby formula.

The court also heard that the couple assaulted the baby a number of times on different occasions.

The mother would either take the baby to her workplace at a pub or the father would drop the child off at Saunders’ food cart while intoxicated.

A doctor who examined the baby testified in court that on November 6, 2020, she completed a J88 medical form, which stated that the baby had bruises that were five days old on the head, chest and right arm and had a rash on his buttocks.

“The couple had missed appointments and went weeks later for the child’s vaccination at a clinic in order for the nurses not to see the bruises.”

On two separate occasions, the parents individually tried to sell the baby to Saunders. This is after the father approached Saunders first and offered to give her the baby for R2 000 and asked to go with her to the Department of Home Affairs to register the baby as hers.

Mahanjana said on November 3, 2020, the mother approached Saunders and offered to give the baby to her for a fee of R2 500 because she wanted to leave her husband and Pretoria.

The following day, on November 4, the father came back to the food cart to enquire if Saunders had considered his offer.

Saunders informed him that his wife also tried to sell the baby for R2 500 and that’s when he reduced his price to R1 000.

“On November 5 at midday, the wife went to the food cart to ask Saunders to reconsider buying the baby and reduced her offer to R500.

“On November 6, the father went to Saunders and threatened to kill the baby if she does not buy him.

“Later that day, the mother also went to the food cart without the baby and when Saunders enquired about the baby she told her that he was home because he fell off the bed,” said Mahanjana.

An informer who witnessed these interactions reported the matter to the police.

The police arranged to entrap the couple with the help of Saunders. They gave Saunders R500 to buy the baby from the couple and the exchange took place outside the couple’s house between the mother and Saunders while the father was in the house.

Mahanjana said the mother took the money, gave Saunders the baby and went back into the house.

Immediately afterwards, police entered the premises, confiscated the money and arrested the couple.

The baby was taken to a health care facility for observation and is in safe care. The couple has been in custody since their arrest.

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