Heavy jail term for con­victed baby sell­ers

Swazi Observer - - NEWS -

DUR­BAN - They sold a six-mon­thold baby boy for R2 500 and an air con­di­tioner which they pawned for R600.

But now two women - who posed as a car­ing "teacher" and "so­cial worker" - will spend an ef­fec­tive 20 years and 10 years re­spec­tively be­hind bars after be­ing con­victed of hu­man traf­fick­ing laws, kid­nap­ping, cor­rup­tion and mon­ey­laun­der­ing. In spite of their pleas of in­no­cence, Ta­z­ley Msweli and Si­bongile Ndi­mande, who both live in the Pine­town area, were con­victed of all charges by Pine­town Re­gional Court Mag­is­trate KQ Hadebe and were sen­tenced this week.

The bi­o­log­i­cal mother of the child, who lives in Dur­ban's Point area, tes­ti­fied that she had met Msweli at hos­pi­tal where she had taken her baby be­cause he was sick.

She said she had "poured out her heart" to Msweli about her dire fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion. While Msweli claimed the mother con­tacted her some time later and asked for her help in find­ing a home for the child, the mother de­nied this, telling the court: "Even though I was poor I would not give up my child."

Ev­i­dence was that Msweli was the mas­ter­mind and charmed Ndi­mande into get­ting in­volved in the money-mak­ing scam.

They went round to the mother's house, pos­ing as a teacher and so­cial worker and made prom­ises that they could as­sist in get­ting gro­ceries for her. They per­suaded her to go to town to do shop­ping. When she went in­side to buy the gro­ceries, they of­fered to hold the baby.

When she came out five min­utes later they had dis­ap­peared with the child. The "adop­tive" mother, who cared for the baby for six months be­fore be­ing caught, man­aged to raise R2 500 as an "ad­min­is­tra­tion fee" and of­fered them the air con­di­tion­ing unit to make up the balance. She said she pre­sumed the baby had been aban­doned but con­ceded that proper adop­tion pro­ce­dures had not been fol­lowed.

She too was ar­rested and pleaded guilty in 2016 be­fore an­other mag­is­trate. She re­ceived a sen­tence of cor­rec­tional su­per­vi­sion and a fine. When she tes­ti­fied at Msweli and Ndi­mande's trial, she spoke of how she could not have her own child, was des­per­ate for one, and how she got to love the baby. It was dev­as­tat­ing when he was taken away. News24

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