Child helps solve tod­dler’s kid­nap­ping

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - RABBIE SERUMULA

AN EAVES­DROP­PING child pro­vided po­lice with vi­tal clues to track down 14-month-old Siyabonga Mlambo who had been snatched from his fam­ily home this week dur­ing a rob­bery.

The child, from New­cas­tle in KwaZulu- Natal, was not iden­ti­fied by po­lice yes­ter­day, but in­for­ma­tion he pro­vided en­abled de­tec­tives to re­unite Siyabonga with his trau­ma­tised par­ents in Soweto.

Siyabonga’s mother, Man­disa, came home from work at about 8.30pm on Tues­day night, when she was con­fronted by two armed men who over­pow­ered her and Siyabonga’s nanny.

The men forced her to drive to the Protea Glen Mall to with­draw money from an ATM, and then re­turned to the house and tied up Man­disa and the nanny. They stole cell­phones, cloth­ing and other items and left with Siyabonga.

The women man­aged to free them­selves the fol­low­ing morning, and two nights of agony fol­lowed for Man­disa and Siyabonga’s fa­ther, Tshepo Madubung.

“All I did was pray for the best, but there were times when I broke down and cried think­ing of all the neg­a­tive things that could hap­pen to him,” an ex­hausted Man­disa said yes­ter­day.

When po­lice ques­tioned the nanny, they re­alised there was “some­thing fishy” about her, and “some­thing clicked”, said po­lice spokesman Fred Kunene.

Around the same time, in­for­ma­tion pro­vided to KZN po­lice by the eaves­drop­ping child who had heard his par­ents talk­ing about

the baby, spurred their hunt for the two sus­pects. By Thurs­day af­ter­noon they had the sus­pects, aged 22 and 25, in cus­tody. The 22-year-old, po­lice said is a san­goma.

This news ter­ri­fied Mlambo and Madubung: “My breath

Mama Taxi

stopped. And I started think­ing the worst could have hap­pened. I thought my son was dead,” said Madubung, al­lud­ing to muti killings.

Siyabonga was phys­i­cally un­harmed.

Af­ter the two were ar­rested, KZN po­lice told the Jo­hannes- burg in­ves­ti­gat­ing team the nanny should be ar­rested too. She is re­lated to the sus­pects.

Dr Sha­heda Omar, clin­i­cal di­rec­tor at The Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Chil­dren, said child kid­nap­ping was more preva­lent in South Africa than most peo­ple thought.


Santa Shoe­box chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer Deb­bie Zelez­niak, pa­tron Mpho Tutu van Furth, MC Brent Lin­d­eque and chief ex­ec­u­tive Irené Pi­eters cel­e­brate the 10th birth­day of Santa Shoe­box, which do­nates 100 000 gift boxes to un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren.

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