11/11/2012. Thabisa Dongolwane with her child who she found after she was missing for two years at their new house in Soshanguve. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Pretoria - The Soshanguve mother who was reunited with her daughter after two years of searching said she has forgiven the woman who took her daughter when she was four years old.

Thabisa Dongolwane, who once told the Pretoria News she would never forgive the woman who snatched her child, seems to have undergone a change of heart.

Dongolwane on Sunday said the family her child knew as her own for two years asked if they could have access to her.

She said the family told her that they grew fond of the child while she was living with them and they would like to keep the bond they formed with her.

“I told them that I don’t have a problem with them seeing her but they have to come to where we live. She will not go to their house,” she said.

On Sunday, mother and daughter were at their new house in Soshanguve Extension 3 where the six-year-old is enjoying being around her aunt.

Dongolwane said they were building a stronger bond and her child was enjoying their new home.

Speaking about the abductor, Dongolwane said the woman was sentenced to eight months in prison with an additional four years suspended.

Asked why the sudden change of heart, Dongolwane said: “Because the woman did not deny abducting my child or trying to claim my child as hers, and the family [took] good care of her. I’m relieved because I found her in good shape. I am just happy that my child is back in my arms.”

Dongolwane spotted her child walking with a woman on a dusty Soshanguve street on September 20 and immediately knew it was her little girl who disappeared while she was visiting her aunt in Pretoria North on March 25, 2010.

The woman who was with her was arrested and the child returned to Dongolwane. The pair, however, have never received any form of counselling to help them deal with what had happened.

Child experts say a child under the age of 18 who had had gone missing required counselling.

“We haven’t received any form of counselling or spoken to a social worker, but we are doing fine. She is slowly learning Xhosa and we plan to leave for the Eastern Cape in December to perform a traditional ceremony to celebrate her return,” she said.

Social development and welfare co-ordinator at Missing Children South Africa Nicky Rheeder said when a child under 18 who had gone missing for whatever reason was found, a social worker would always be handed the case.

The worker will assess the situation and will, more than likely, place the child in a place of safety until a full investigation had been done. All the necessary services and advice will be provided by the social worker.

“After the child has been placed back in its home, follow-up assessments will be done. Whether or not the family/child wants to see a psychologist will be up to them. The family will receive advice and guidelines from the social workers,” she said.

Pretoria News