A Diepsloot woman who was once praised for her work with abandoned children has been charged with child trafficking after allegedly “selling” two children to a Mpumalanga couple three years ago.
Raisible Jacqueline “Mama Jackie” Ramohlola, 62, denied guilt to charges of child trafficking, fraud and running an unregistered child care centre in contravention of a court order.
The state alleges Ramohlola, who operated the Dellfire Home and Care Centre in Diepsloot, advertised that she had children available for adoption and fraudulently created the impression that she had authorisation from the social development department to arrange adoptions. In 2012, she allegedly “sold” a six-year-old boy and baby girl to a Mpumalanga couple for R30 000.
The children’s “adoptive father” yesterday testified in the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria that he and his wife had turned to Mama Jackie’s “adoption centre” for help after their efforts to adopt children through Johannesburg adoption agencies were unsuccessful.
His wife had read in a newspaper that Ramohlola could assist them. There were about 20 children of various ages at the centre – which consisted of a house and a caravan – on their first visit.
According to the father, the accused told them they had to pay R30 000 if they wanted the children, whom they fetched on their second visit.
They took the children home without any documentation and only realised what a formal adoption process entailed after going to the KwaMhlanga Magistrate’s Court for assistance. A magistrate has since placed the children in foster care with the couple.
In her plea explanation, Ramohlola vehemently denied selling children. She said she had been taking care of abandoned children since 1996 and many of them were referred to her by the police.
According to Ramohlola, she had warned the couple it was unlawful to buy children. She insisted the couple had donated R30 000 to the centre and then asked her if two of the children could visit them, but failed to return the children to the centre. She then laid a child theft charge against them.