A young Port Elizabeth couple are facing criminal charges for “selling” their young daughter and using the money to buy the latest Apple iPhone, according to state media.
The prosecutors have brought a case of human trafficking against the pair, who are charged with putting their third child up for adoption online in exchange for cash.
Investigators claim the mother, whose full name has been withheld due to the sensitivity of the case, used the money to buy an iPhone, high-end sports shoes and other goods.
Apple’s products are hugely popular in South Africa but are priced beyond the reach of many.
Some have gone to extreme lengths to get hold of the devices, highlighted by the case of a teenager who sold his kidney, and used the proceeds to buy an iPhone and iPad.
The couple are said to have told police they wanted their daughter to have a better upbringing than they could provide, as they already had two children.
“Giving away the child was not for obtaining benefits, but giving her better guarantees,” one of the parents is reported as saying.
An official of the prosecutor’s office dealing with the case has expressed concerns over “sensationalism” surrounding the affair, but declined to comment further.
Reports did not give the amount the couple received for the child, but their online postings allegedly asked for a very large amount.
“This is unacceptable ! We’re calling for a very stiff sentence. If parents for some reason realize they can no longer take care of their child they should arrange for foster care or adoption” one children’s right activist said.
A group of protesters has begun a march in a bid to have the courts impose very stiff sentences for the parents.