Santa Clause made some early Christmas rounds for babies born to mothers in jail.
Thursday’s event at Pollsmoor Maximum Security Prison was the first of two.
According to the Department of Correctional Services, (DCS) they have 58 babies in prison nationwide.
There are 10 babies behind bars in the Western Cape – seven in Pollsmoor and three in Oudtshoorn, aged between two weeks and 12 months.
The DCS has collaborated with NGO Ezase-Kasi Collections for the nationwide initiative.
In a statement, the department says: “In implementing the Children’s Act that requires every decision to be in the best interest of the child, the Correctional Services Act allows mothers after giving birth to be with their babies for a period of two years before a child is placed with a caregiver nominated by the mother.
“The first 1 000 days of a child’s life are the most crucial for development.
“And in understanding this, the department provides food, clothing, health care and appropriate facilities for the period the child is in a correctional facility.
“There are currently 58 babies in correctional facilities across the country.
“This collaboration will see DCS, the Social Development department and Ezase-Kasi working together to bring a smile to the little ones while also contributing to the rehabilitation of the mothers.”
Ezase-Kasi’s founder Siyanda Mtulu says the babies are innocent and should not be punished for the sins of their mothers.
Siyanda says: “We are here because the babies born in prison didn’t commit any crime, but are here because of the moms.
“We know that the babies here don’t have opportunities like the others out there and that is the reason we decided to bring them gifts. All children in prison will receive gifts to unwrap.
“No child should be left behind, we will do the same thing on Tuesday in Johannesburg.”
Christmas gifts ranging from clothing, toys, early-childhood development books and toiletries were delivered to the moms.
Mom Fadwah Carelse says she is grateful for the gifts: “My son is a year old and we are leaving together, his second birthday will be five days after I am released.
“Being in prison has taught me to be a mother. I’m happy about what we received for our babies.”