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Durban - A chance encounter at a shopping mall with the woman who took her baby almost two months ago, has ended with the happy parents reunited with their child.
Pietermaritzburg couple Bonginkosi Mphemba and Nonhlanhla Madlala spent the whole of Monday night staring at their beautiful boy, Olwethu.
Mphemba said on Tuesday that Olwethu had slept soundly through the night.
“We just prayed and thanked God for returning him to us safely. It was almost like a dream to hold him,” he said.
He said they could not sleep and spent the entire night just staring at “our beautiful boy”.
Mphemba described the past two months as hell.
“Now my family is whole and I am so happy.”
He was a month old when he was snatched by a woman who offered to help Madlala at the Home Affairs offices while she was trying to fill in forms to register his birth on April 15.
Madlala was shopping at the Edendale Mall on Monday, when she came face to face with the 25-year-old woman who snatched her baby two months ago.
The woman was carrying a baby wrapped in a blanket and Madlala was uncertain whether the baby was Olwethu.
“I stared at the woman in shock and she greeted me.
“She then realised who I was and ran into a shop,” she said.
Madlala said she chased her, but the woman managed to escape.
But Madlala was not prepared to give up without a fight.
She went into every shop in the mall, asking staff and customers if they had seen the woman and the baby.
She eventually found the shop where the woman had worked.
“The staff there told me where the woman lived. I immediately called my husband and the police,” she said.
The woman was arrested at her home in the Nhlazatshe area near Edendale.
Olwethu was unharmed.
Plessislaer police spokesman, Captain Musa Ntombela, confirmed the woman’s arrest.
The woman is expected to appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on a charge of kidnapping.
Madlala said she was relieved to be reunited with her baby.
She said while she was angry at the woman for taking Olwethu, she was grateful she had taken care of him.
She described the past two months without her baby as agony.
“I kept blaming myself.
“If I hadn’t allowed her to carry Olwethu, she would not have taken him.
“I am so thankful he is back where he belongs,” Madlala said.
The couple will take Olwethu for a medical check on Tuesday.
They said they would not be conducting a DNA test because they were certain the baby was Olwethu.
Pietermaritzburg psychologist and social worker, Dalene Naidoo, said in most cases baby snatchers were not motivated by maternal envy or a burning desire for motherhood.
“It’s usually a desire to hang on to a boyfriend or husband in a deteriorating relationship,” Naidoo said.