Judge Mohamed Ismail sentenced Raisibe Jacqueline (Mama Jackie) Ramohlola, 62, to 12 years’ imprisonment, of which five years were suspended, on two charges of child trafficking and one of running an illegal orphanage.
The court ruled that Ramohlola may not work with children for five years after she has been released from prison. Judge Ismail warned her that she may not even look after her neighbours’ children for those five years.
Ramohlola sold a baby girl and a six-year-old boy to a childless couple in Mpumalanga in 2012, ran an unregistered child care centre and contravened a court order that stopped her form taking in more children.
The court rejected her claims that social workers had refused to help her to register her care centre because they were “jealous” about the publicity she received.
Ramohlola, who ran the Dellfire Home and Care Centre in Diepsloot, testified during the trial that she was driven by a desire to help abandoned children because she was also an orphan.
The couple testified that they had been under the impression that they had legally adopted the children and the money was needed to register the children. Judge Ismail said he had no hesitation to find that Mama Jackie did selfless and humanitarian work in Diepsloot, especially where it came to children.
He said she was in essence a good person and not a “normal, violent criminal” and would not commit such a crime again, but the court had to send out a message to others that child trafficking would not be tolerated.
In this case, the two children she sold ended up with a loving childless couple, but in many cases child trafficking the children ended up as sex slaves, the Judge said.
He said Mama Jackie had also not shown any remorse about she did and maintained to the end that the R30 000 she received was a “donation”.
She felt sorry for herself that she was caught out, he added.