New research has found that mothers are regarded as suspected perpetrators in nearly two-thirds of child homicides in the country.
Baby abandonment and infanticide in South Africa is a crisis which points to many challenges facing the social and public health sector, according to researchers.
A team from the Medical Research Council (MRC) at the University of Cape Town conducted a study which took a random sample of mortuaries and identified the infants that were killed in 2009.
The study found that almost two-thirds of children murdered in South Africa are infants under one and more than half of the deaths are babies six days old or younger.
Researcher, Professor Naeemah Abrahams explains that there are various factors contributing to why women often abandon new born babies right after birth.
An unwanted or concealed pregnancy, little community support, poor family planning, inadequate reproductive health services or domestic abuse can all contribute to baby abandonment.
We need to be careful. By default, when an abandoned new born is found, we blame the mother... but we don't really know the story behind it.— Professor Naeemah Abrahams, Deputy unit director at SAMRC gender and health research unit
Listen to the full conversation from CapeTalk's Breakfast with Kieno Kammies: