Durban - The 7-month old girl who was snatched from the Home Affairs office in Pietermaritzburg last week has been found – thanks to quick-thinking nurses at a local clinic.
Apart from looking thinner, darker and with scratches on her face, Fanele Dlamini appeared to be well, her relieved mother, Phumzile Dlamini, 22, said on Wednesday night.
The woman who allegedly stole the infant had taken her to a clinic in Impendle where staff became suspicious.
According to a nurse at the clinic who asked for anonymity because she was not authorised to speak to the media, the woman came in on Tuesday, a week after Fanele was abducted, for a general check-up.
“She told us that the baby was 11 days old. We knew something was wrong because we could tell that this baby was over 5 months old,” the nurse said.
The nurses then recalled that they had seen a picture of a baby abducted from the Home Affairs office in a newspaper a week earlier.
They immediately alerted police who arrested the 20-year-old woman, who was caring for the baby as if the child was her own.
Dlamini said that she was relieved that her baby was found, although a little upset that she could not take her home as yet.
Social workers at the Impendle clinic confirmed that they would be keeping Fanele for observation and would be conducting tests to confirm that the baby girl was, indeed, Fanele.
“This has been such a traumatic time. I could not eat or sleep without my child. I was constantly worried,” Dlamini said.
The young mother said that even though her baby appeared thinner and darker in complexion with scratch marks on her face, she was certain that it was Fanele.
“I just want to take her home.”
Dlamini, from Swayimane in Wartburg, had gone to the Home Affairs office to apply for her child’s birth certificate.
While she was filling in the paperwork, a woman who identified herself as “Sma from Impendle” approached and offered to carry the baby.
The woman spent three hours with Dlamini, asking questions about Fanele, telling her that she was also there to apply for a birth certificate for her child.
The two women were sitting near the exit on the second floor when Dlamini, who was still busy filling in the application, lost sight of the suspect. Dlamini then realised that the woman had taken off with her baby.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said the suspect would appear in court this week on a charge of kidnapping.
This is the second such incident in Pietermaritzburg in a space of three months.
On April 14, Olwethu Madlala was snatched from the same Home Affairs office.
Nokulunga Mzila, 25, was arrested last month after a chance encounter with Olwethu’s mother at a local shopping mall.