Johannesburg - A father has been reunited with his 18-month-old baby who was allegedly “stolen” by his aunt under false pretences.
The child was missing for 10 months until the woman was arrested after being found with the wanted baby at one of Ekurhuleni’ municipality’s offices last week.
The arrest is alleged to have also led to the revelation that the woman also got a teenage relative to live with her under the pretext of giving her a good life only to turn her into a prostitute.
According to Ekurhuleni spokesperson Themba Radebe, the woman, who is the child’s biological aunt, approached the father at the beginning of the year and asked that she babysit him and will return him in a few hours.
However, that never happened.
After months that failed to yield results, last week the woman went to Ekurhuleni’s Women, Youth and People living with Disability office with the baby on her back.
Radebe said the woman had been called by the office to identify a 16-year-old victim of rape.
“As fate would have it, the aunt was arrested when she came to premises of the non-profit organisation that helps displaced children in the City, and coincidentally, she was carrying the baby on her back.
“When the aunt was asked whose baby she was carrying, there were glaring inconsistencies in her responses. Her answers were riddled with lies, which led to her arrest,” said Lindiwe Khonjelwayo, the Head of Women, Youth and People Living with Disability Directorate in the office of mayor Mzwandile Masina.
However, more was to come.
“The 16-year-old girl then spilt the beans, pointing fingers at the aunt that she had lured her to Gauteng with the promise of a better education.
“Instead of education, however, she was tricked to prostitution,” Radebe said.
Police were called. The child was removed from the woman and reunited with his father. The teenager was taken to a place of safety and the woman arrested.
Khonjelwayo has called for the community to be vigilant around their children “as the world faces serious social ills like abduction, kidnapping as well as human trafficking”.
The woman has been charged with rape and human trafficking and police are investigating who else she may have colluded with.