People gathered to picket outside the court where 18-year-old high school pupil, Karabo Tau, made her second appearance. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - Eighteen-year-old Claremont High School matric pupil, Karabo Tau, accused of kidnapping 2-month-old Kwahlelwa Tiwane, appeared in the Bellville magistrate’s court on Thursday even as the whereabouts of the baby remained unknown.

Tau was apprehended by police on Sunday and, upon questioning, reportedly confessed to having abducted baby Kwahlewa in Parow on Thursday last week. She applied for bail on Thursday, but the case was postponed.

Court E at the Bellville Magistrate’s Court was packed with family and friends from both families while a crowd gathered outside to protest. 

Solomzi Ngunda, a detective working on the case, testified that the cellphone number the accused used in her communication with the mother was used to identify her.

During cross-examination by State prosecutor Matrose Tobinceba, Ngunda said that in her initial interview with the investigating officer, the accused had alleged she was threatened into abducting the baby, and later had given the name of the person who Ngunda said was still under investigation.

Ngunda said there was “someone” in custody and that more arrests were imminent. He said the accused seemed to belong to a “syndicate”, at which point the accused’s lawyers objected. 

“I want to believe that there is more than one person that is involved in this because the child is somewhere, being kept by someone else and, looking at where the complainant and the accused stay, chances are that there is a third person that is close to the complainant,” Ngunda said.

Mother Asanda Tiwane and Father Siyanda Thugani. Picture: Courtney Africa/African News Agency(ANA)

He said the State was opposing bail because “looking at the trial, I was afraid that the case would be jeopardised by the release of the accused, because of its magnitude.

“I have to also take into account the accused’s safety because I am dealing with an angry and emotional community.”

Ngunda said the State “vigorously” opposed bail in the interests of the child and the community.

Tau’s bail application was hearing postponed to Monday and she will remain in custody.

@Mtuzeli

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Cape Argus