No winners in baby swap case – judge

A baby's feet. Picture: Supplied

There could be no “winner” in the case involving two four-year-old children who were swapped at birth and one could only hope the parents eventually reached a settlement which satisfied all of them, a High Court judge in Pretoria said yesterday.

The mothers only found out four years later their children, a boy and a girl, had been swapped at birth at the Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg in 2010. “The more we talk about this matter, it becomes clear this is a matter where the parties should cooperate and should not leave it to the court to decide.

“I hope as the matter progresses we will reach a stage where an agreement is reached with which all of the parents are satisfied. “It is not a matter where anyone can say they’ve won. It is a matter which must, at the end of the day, benefit the children,” Judge Aubrey Ledwaba said.

A full bench of the High Court yesterday postponed the case so an independent psychologist and customary law expert can be appointed to consult with one of the fathers.

The father told the court he only recently started seeing a psychologist and needed to consult an expert on traditions as he was a Zulu and his child needed to be subjected to certain cultural rituals.

The experts will have to bring out joint reports with the psychologists at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital already counselling the children and three of the parents, as well as a customary law expert previously appointed by the court. A date for the next hearing still has to be determined.

One of the mothers previously applied in the Children’s Court to swap the children (a boy and a girl) but the other mother refused. Both mothers have since conceded it would be in the children’s best interest to remain where they were.

Advocate Ann Skelton of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Child Law, who was appointed to investigate the issues, last year recommended in a report the children should remain where they are living.

She said the parents had a claim against health authorities and financial assistance would ease their difficulties.

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