Child helps solve toddler’s kidnapping
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
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.