Couple arrested after selling their baby for US$32 to undercover cops

… after the couple had the baby in April 2020, they did not register the child at the Department of Home Affairs with the intention of selling the baby and for the baby not to be traced back to them

THE High Court in Pretoria, South Africa has convicted Wayne Loubser (36) and Justine Loubser (32), a Pretoria couple residing in Booysens, of child neglect, common assault and failure to register a child.

North Gauteng regional spokesperson for the director of public prosecutions Lumka Mahanjana said the wife, Justine, was further found guilty of human trafficking.

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“This is after it was put on record in court that after the couple had the baby in April 2020, they did not register the child at the Department of Home Affairs with the intention of selling the baby and for the baby not to be traced back to them,” said Mahanjana.

“A woman, only known as Saunders, who owned a food cart in Booysens, met the couple around July /August 2020. She first met Wayne, who asked her for food from the food cart. The following day, Wayne came with his wife, Justine, to introduce her and the baby, who was two months old at the time.”

Wayne proceeded to ask Saunders for R50 in order to buy nappies for the baby.

Saunders asked her daughter-in-law to buy the nappies, and she gave them to the Loubsers. From that day, Sounders then continued to buy nappies and baby formula for the baby.

“It was also put on record in court that the couple made the baby (to) drink cool aid while the father ate the baby formula. The court also heard that the couple repeatedly assaulted the baby a number of times on different occasions,” said Mahanjana.

“The mother would take the baby to her workplace at a pub while the father would drop the child off at Saunders’ food cart while intoxicated. A doctor who examined the baby testified in court that on 6 November 2020, she completed a J88-medical form which stated that the baby had bruises that were five days old on the head, chest and right arm and had a rash on his buttocks.”

Also, the couple had missed medical appointments and went weeks later for the child’s vaccination at the clinic as they avoided nurses noticing the bruises.

On two separate occasions, Mahanjana said, the parents individually tried to sell the baby to Saunders.

“The father approached Saunders first and offered to give her the baby for R2 000, and asked to go with her to the Department of Home Affairs to register the baby as hers. While the mother, on 3 November 2020, approached Saunders and offered to give the baby to her for a fee of R2 500 because she wanted to leave her husband and Pretoria,” said Mahanjana.

The following day, on November 4, Wayne came back to the food cart to enquire if Saunders considered his offer. Saunders informed Wayne that Justine had also tried to sell the baby for R2 500.

Wayne then reduced his price to R1000.

“On 5 November at midday, Justine went to the food cart to ask Saunders to reconsider buying the baby and reduced her offer to R500, equivalent to about US$32. On 6 November, Wayne went to the food cart to Saunders and threatened to kill the baby if she does not buy him,” said Mahanjana.

Later that day, Justine also went to the food cart without the baby. When Saunders enquired about the baby, Justine told her that he was home because he fell from the bed.

“An informer, who witnessed this happening, called and reported the matter to the police. The police, together with Saunders, set a trap for the couple. The police gave Saunders R500 to buy the baby from the couple,” said Mahanjana.

“The exchange took place outside the couple’s house between Justine and Saunders while Wayne was inside the house.”

Justine took the money and gave Saunders the baby. She then went into the house.

“Immediately after, the police went inside the house, confiscated the money and arrested the couple.

The baby was taken to a health care facility for observation and is currently in safe care,” said Mahanjana.

The couple has been in custody since their arrest.

The matter was postponed to February 1 for sentencing.

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