CAPE TOWN – Police officials are looking into the circumstances that led to the death of a 23-month-old baby girl at a playschool in Hangberg, Cape Town this week.
It is understood that the baby’s parents were greeted with the devastating news when they arrived at the creche, in the seaside neighbourhood, on Monday.
Western Cape police confirmed an inquest into the “sudden death” was opened the same day.
Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut did not provide further information, saying only that the cause of death had yet to be determined.
The playschool owner informed the social development department of the infant’s death on Tuesday afternoon.
It then sent officials from the metro south regional office and Fish Hoek local office to the facility on Wednesday morning to investigate, said Sihle Ngobese, spokesperson for social development MEC Albert Fritz.
“Unfortunately nobody was at the facility, including its owner, and social workers were unable to reach the family of the deceased child, as they are still busy with the police and mortuary officials,” he said.
It emerged that the Early Childhood Development (ECD) facility was not registered with the department.
Ngobese said the facility had been working on attaining its registration and complying with the rigorous norms and standards stipulated in the Children’s Act of 2005.
The department visited the premises in November. Health officials from the City of Cape Town also inspected the facility.
“We continue to try [and] assist facilities to attain registration status, however, the scale of the challenge remains immense,” said Ngobese.
Systems were apparently in place to assist ECD centres to progressively meet the requirements of the act.
Ngobese extended condolences to the child’s family and said they would assist the police’s investigation.