S African Indian baby in freak day care death

August 2nd, 2008 - 12:47 pm ICT by IANS  

By Fakir Hassen
Pietermaritzburg (South Africa), Aug 2 (IANS) After waiting 18 years to have a baby, the parents of nine-month-old Saiona Moonsamy are now consoling the owner of a day care centre here who killed the baby in a freak accident in which she drove into Saiona and nine other children in her care. Amid mounting community concerns as municipal authorities started investigations into whether the day care centre in the garage of Roshnee Hemraj was legal and whether she had a driver’s licence, Sid and Anita Moonsamy said they had no intention of taking any action against her.

Hemraj’s husband, Prakash, said here Friday that the Moonsamy’s, soon after deciding to bury their baby immediately to speed up the healing process for all parties concerned, brought his wife flowers and said they had forgiven her.

Roshnee Hemraj is facing possible culpable homicide and attempted murder charges after she allegedly decided to reverse the car which her husband had parked at the entrance to the garage which she used as a day care centre for the children. However, Hemraj accidentally drove forward, ramming the children inside the garage.

Although local police confirmed that Hemraj did not have a driver’s licence, they said she would not be charged for this as she had driven the vehicle on private property rather than on a public road, which is permissible without a licence.

The municipality here has also confirmed that the day care centre was not registered with its health and environmental departments, as required of such institutions in terms of bylaws aimed at protecting children at such centres.

But as community anger mounted at these charges, neighbours and even some of the parents of the other nine children, all of whom have been discharged from hospital, sprung to Hemraj’s defence.

“She cared for my child while I was away at work as if she was her own child,” said one mother, who asked not to be identified.

“My child got up early every morning, all excited to go to Roshnee’s school, and I will leave her with Roshnee again if she restarts the school.”

Hemraj was still in shock and has not made a statement to police yet, while her husband appealed to the public not to prejudge his wife, who he said loved children and was devastated by the incident.

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