Fanele Dlamini

Durban - The young woman who allegedly snatched a 7-month-old baby girl from the Department of Home Affairs offices in Pietermaritzburg, will now be pleading not guilty to kidnapping.

Smangele Angeline Sikhosana, from Impendle, told a city magistrate at her previous court appearance earlier this month that she intended pleading guilty. But on Thursday, Sikhosana did an about-turn and confirmed that she would be tendering a plea of not guilty.

The matter was adjourned to August 12 for a formal bail application. Prosecutor Rene Padayachee indicated that the State would be opposing bail due to the seriousness of the offence and the public outcry from an angry community.

Sikhosana allegedly kidnapped Fanele Dlamini from her mother Phumzile Dlamini on July 8.

Dlamini, from Swayimane in Wartburg, had gone to Home Affairs to apply for her child’s birth certificate.

While filling in the paper-work, a woman who identified herself as “Sma from Impendle” offered to carry her 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 filling in the application, lost sight of the suspect.

Dlamini then realised the woman had taken off with her baby.

Fanele was reunited with her mother a week after she was abducted, after a caregiver suspected the child was not Sikhosana’s and called police.

This is the second such incident in Pietermaritzburg in 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.

She was granted R1 000 bail and will appear in court next month.

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