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Mom’s anguish over missing tot

Nigel - ‘Every morning I wake up to die again. How can I eat not knowing where my child is, what she is eating or if she is even alive.”

These were the words of an anguished mother whose baby has been missing for three months.

Neo Nkoane is comforted by her brother, Tumi, during Themba Masinga's bail application in the Nigel Magistrate's Court. Masinga is facing charges of kidnapping Nkoane's daughter Ronewa Matshinyatsimbi. Picture: Oupa Mokoena. Credit: INL SA

Sad cries and screams of sorrow were heard in the Nigel Magistrate’s Court yesterday from young mother, Neo Nkoane, desperate to find out what happened to her 18-month-old daughter.

Themba Masinga, Nkoane’s former partner, was the last person to see the toddler and is now facing charges of kidnapping, falsifying a statement and murder.

The toddler, Ronewa, was left in his care while Nkoane, an SANDF employee was deployed to Sudan.

Now she is calling on the very country she serves for help.

“I’m calling on all mothers and the minister for women and children, and organisations aiding children to help me. I am always strong in serving our country, now I need you because I cannot be strong any more. I need someone to help me. I need South Africa to be concerned.

“I need to know what happened to my daughter. I cannot carry on any more,” Nkoane said in tears.

She would not wish the pain she’s been feeling on her worst enemy.

“Ronewa is turning 2 in July and I don’t even know where she is. I cannot describe what I am feeling towards him (Masinga). It seems like he planned this. He was the last person to see her.

“What did he do with her? Why won’t he tell me where she is?”

Masinga was arrested in January after police picked up discrepancies in his stories regarding the child’s disappearance.

He alleged a woman claiming to be a nanny kidnapped Ronewa from the Dunnattor military base after she was allowed to sleep in the same room as the child on the first night she arrived to look after her.

Masinga launched a bail application in the Nigel Magistrate’s Court and yesterday magistrate Gerrit Taljaard turned down his application.

During the bail application it emerged that there was evidence contradicting Masinga’s affidavit and version of events.

The baby’s bloodied blanket was found at the house and has been taken in for forensic analysis along with a spade on which blood was found.

Several witnesses will be called to testify, including Nkoane’s 4-year-old son who was at the house that night, as well as Masinga’s 8-year-old son.

The court was told the 4-year-old would testify that on the night his baby sister disappeared, he saw Masinga and at least three other people in the room, wrapping her in a blanket and taking her away.

Taljaard yesterday said he could not find that the court was satisfied that the accused fulfilled the requirements of a schedule six bail application.

He said he could not exclude the possibility of the accused concealing evidence that could assist the police in finding the child or her body.

The magistrate said there was a possibility the accused would interfere with the investigation and would attempt to interfere with witnesses, as uncontested evidence brought forward indicated that Masinga had made contact with witnesses while incarcerated.

The Nkoane family said they were relieved he had not been granted bail, and hoped to find out what had happened to Ronewa.

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