Three-year-old Chuma Yumata, who was abducted from his home in Motherwell between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday afternoon, has been found unharmed. Photo: SAPS

Port Elizabeth - Three-year-old Chuma Yumata, who was abducted from his home in Motherwell between Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage in Nelson Mandela Bay on Saturday afternoon, has been found unharmed, Eastern Cape police said.

A 35-year-old suspect was arrested at noon on Sunday in Uitenhage, spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said.

This followed an extensive search for the 35-year-old woman suspect who allegedly took the child from his home at 1pm on Saturday, he said.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) mobilised "all its resources and specialist units, including the SAPS helicopter, in the search". The breakthrough came after close interaction with minibus taxi drivers and taxi structures in the search.

"By [12pm] the suspect and the missing boy were taken to Uitenhage police station CSC [community service centre] by a taxi driver who did not wish to give his name. The suspect was arrested and the boy re-united with his father and family," Beetge said.

Motherwell police station commander Brigadier Ernie Neveling gave special praise to the taxi drivers and their structures. "The call on the taxi drivers in this search was instrumental in the speedy finding of the missing boy and the suspect, and such SAPS and community partnerships can only be made stronger with successes like these," Neveling said.

Earlier on Sunday, Beetge said early indications after the toddler went missing pointed to him possibly being taken from his home by a 35-year-old female family member.

This followed after the woman visited the boy's father - 35-year-old Peter Mzimkhulu - at his home at 110 Nkonyana Street, NU12, Motherwell. The boy's disappearance was discovered after she had left. Chuma had been playing in the front yard of the house at the time of the visit, Beetge said.
African News Agency