Ingrid Oellermann, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg – A woman who allegedly “sold” her child for R5 000 after placing an advertisement on Gumtree, may plead guilty to a charge of human trafficking.
This emerged on Monday when the 20-year-old mother from Azalea township near Imbali appeared briefly before a packed public gallery in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court.
The Witness will not name the woman or publish her photograph to protect the identity of her 19-month-old child.
Her legal aid attorney told magistrate M. Boikhutso the woman had decided to abandon her bid for bail and was instead considering a possible guilty plea. She asked for a postponement until November 5 to enable her to further consult the woman.
Dressed in a bright orange T-shirt and blue jeans and holding her head of long wavy black hair high, the woman confirmed to the magistrate that she was no longer asking for bail.
Earlier, as she sat on a bench talking to her attorney ahead of the case, the woman had used her long hair to good effect to try and conceal her face as a number of cameramen and women snapped photographs of her.
The woman was arrested after a police trap was set up by the investigating officer, Captain Jageesh Devnarain “JD” Singh, and members of the Hawks.
The police allegedly set up the sting operation at a Pietermaritzburg food outlet after learning about the advertisement she placed on the internet.
The toddler was allegedly present when the mother subsequently met with a policewoman and allegedly negotiated the sale of her child.
The woman allegedly said that her reason for selling the toddler was because the father was not providing financial support and had questioned the boy’s paternity.
The woman was remanded in custody pending her next appearance on November 5.
The Witness previously reported that Gumtree spokesperson Estelle Nagel said the advert to sell the baby was removed and the user blocked immediately after it was flagged.
“We have keywords that if they are entered in an advert will trigger a warning and go for moderation before it goes live,” she said.
“She did not use any of the keywords, but the community was very quick in reporting it to us and we removed it, blocked her, tracked her IP address and reported her to Childline.”