‘Asbestos killed our babies’



July 11, 2016
‘Asbestos killed our babies’

GONE:Tristan Flukes, two months, Sandra Stanley, two months and Delicia Pretorius, six months.

Wesbank residents blame 'toxic roofs' after three infants die.

A Cape Flats community is calling on government to investigate the deaths of three infants who died in the space of one week.

Wesbank residents claim the deaths were caused by extreme cold weather, made worse by their asbestos ceilings which they say offer no protection against the elements.

Community leader Joseph Adams says they want the asbes dakplate to be removed “before more kids die”.

“These asbestos rooftops were banned by government years ago but you still find them inside most of the homes in Wesbank,” he explains.

“The problem is in the winter it becomes ice-cold and doesn’t offer a resistance for the harsh cold outside.

“In summer it is very hot and we have people who have illnesses like asthma and tuberculosis.

“Now we have three babies dead and this is very worrying because we believe it is because of the extreme cold weather which is felt inside the houses.”

On June 20, six-month-old Delicia Pretorius was found dead in a bed at a relative’s home in Marthinus van Schalkwyk Street.

The baby and her parents live in Blikkiesdorp, and were visiting their family.

A week later at the same house, Delicia’s two-month-old cousin Sandra was also found dead by her mother, Megan Stanley, 26.

Grieving granny Sandra Stanley says: “When my daughter woke up that morning she said the child is sleeping too long and then she saw there was no sign of life.

“We do not know why both babies died here, people say it can be the cold but we have to wait for the post-mortem which they say can take three months.”

A third baby, Tristan Flukes, also two months old, was found dead in his bed at his parents’ home in nearby Happiness Street on June 22. His parents did not want to speak to the media.

A neighbour who asked not to be identified says: “That morning, I remember I woke up shivering and moments later we got the news Tristan had died and I said to my family I can believe it because it is so cold in these houses because of the asbestos.”

Mark van der Heever from the Western Cape Health Departments says the cause of death of all three babies are being investigated.

“The autopsy results will be provided to the investigating officer upon completion.”

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