A newborn was abducted from Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital on June 6, a day after her birth.
The police traced her to a home in Diepkloof a day later, reuniting her with her mother, Bikokuhle Hlatshwayo. The abductor was arrested on June 7 when the police followed a tip-off to a home in the suburb, finding baby Mpumelelo with her.
Three incidents of child kidnapping over three days in December outraged Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, who ordered the police to establish a special task team to curb the trend.
In December, a 25-year-old woman appeared at the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on charges of kidnapping.
Megan Diedericks was accused of abducting a three-year-old boy who was in the care of his grandmother. Diedericks allegedly took the child with her to buy cigarettes and did not return. The toddler was later found and the suspect arrested.
In August, a 45-year-old appeared in a Pinetown court after an 11-year-old girl, who was reported missing, was found at his home.
In another incident, also in August last year, a woman appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court for kidnapping. She had pretended to be a social worker and became friendly with the mother while she was pregnant.
Ten days after the mother gave birth, the impersonator made off with the baby.
KwaZulu-Natal police were embroiled in another kidnapping investigation after a two-month-old baby was taken from her home in Umzinto in August last year.
The baby’s mother claimed she offered a homeless woman shelter. The guest said she was not feeling well. The unsuspecting mother went to a nearby store to buy medication, leaving her baby with the supposedly ill guest. When the mother returned home, the guest had disappeared with the baby.
In May last year, kidnappers demanded R6m for the safe return of 13-month-old baby Eden. Two suspects were arrested at the money drop-off point. They led police to three more people implicated in the crime. One of the suspects is the domestic worker who cared for the child.
The Sunday Independent