A window leading into a tenant's bedroom in Westdene 10A. Photo by Neani Neto.

Family Heartbroken After Nine-Day-Old Baby Dies of Pneumonia and Cold Weather in Westdene

A newborn baby died due to the inhumane conditions in a flat building in Westdene on the 27th of June this year according to her grandmother.

Paramedics who arrived at the scene confirmed that baby Kayla’s death was due to a combination of pneumonia and the effects of cold weather.

Elizabeth Damani who lives in the building was getting ready for work when she heard screams coming from the family’s room. “I went to Tasha’s (Kayla’s mother) place and I heard her scream ‘my baby, my baby!’” Damani recalled.

She called for help as soon as she realised what was happening. “It wasn’t moving. So I called the police and the ambulance,” Damani said.

Many of the windows at Westdene 10A are broken and that may have allowed cold winter air to enter the room contributing to the child’s death.

The father of the baby, Jade Jacobs said that on the morning of his child’s death he woke up excited to play with his daughter but she wouldn’t move. That did not raise any suspicions as he thought that the baby has just been fed and was probably sleeping.

“I thought she had just been breastfed. Then I woke her mom up and she said the baby [wasn’t] breathing”, said Jade.

The death of baby Kayla left her father unsettled but he tries to deal with her passing by keeping himself busy.

Jade’s mother, Lynette Jacobs described the conditions at Westdene 10A as unliveable. “10A is filthy and unhygienic you can just feel the filth and the dirty spirits as you enter at the gate,” she said.

According to Lynette Jacobs, Jade’s girlfriend, Natasha, left the hospital without alerting anyone. Natasha apparently refused medical treatment for herself and for baby Kayla. Lynette Jacobs explained that Natasha’s drug habits are likely to have influenced this behaviour.

“The only reason why they left the house with the baby is because of their habits and the freedom that they have here [at 10A]. She repeatedly refused for Kayla to undergo examination” she added.

Jade and Natasha have five other children of which two are in foster care and one was taken by child welfare. The two oldest children are adults and live on their own. Lynette said that the pair has shown little interest in looking after their children. She also said that Kayla’s parents were not so keen on planning her funeral.

Lynette explained that Natasha was at a rehab centre for less than three months but resorted to abusing drugs soon after. Lynette and her husband Melvin Jacobs said that the stress of the whole situation has aggravated Lynette’s struggle with a host of medical conditions including diabetes and hypertension. The stress has even caused her to lose her job.

The death of infants is not uncommon in the general area. Just a few streets down from 10A is another apartment building known as Zone 14. This is where according to a report by the North cliff Melville Times a 24-year-old female lit a fire and burnt her newborn baby on the 14th of September last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Onthatile Kgoadigoadi 15 Articles
Onthatile Kgoadigoadi was born and bred in Phokeng, North West Province. She is a Journalism student at the University of Johannesburg. She is currently working towards obtaining her degree in Journalism and hopes to obtain an Honours degree. Her eagerness to pursue journalism was triggered during her high school years when she would volunteer for community service. She saw a need to impact people’s lives and make their voices heard. Her passion lies in being a humanitarian and eradicating the challenges and issues faced in society. She is a young vibrant journalist with an interest in digging for the truth. She longs to empower the youth from her village to never lose the hope of achieving their dreams and believes that winners are losers who got up and gave it one more try.  

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