Mother reunited with stolen baby


“All is well that ends well” — an old adage says — and this can never be more appropriate than for a Mzilikazi family that has been reunited with its baby that was stolen about three months ago.

Pamela Mhlanga/Richard Muponde

The world came crashing around Nqotshiwe Sibanda after her newly born baby had been grabbed by a baby snatcher.

Sibanda consulted everyone, the police, traditional healers and prophets, with the hope that she could find her seven-day-old baby, but her faith was tested, as the search drew a blank.

In an interview yesterday, a visibly elated Sibanda could not stop talking as she gushed about being reunited with her baby, strapped tightly on her back.

“I am so happy that I have finally found my baby after a three-month long search, not knowing where my baby was and sometimes fearing for the worst,” she said. Sibanda said the search ended after Nyamandlovu police told her to report immediately at the station.

“When the police called on Monday, they did not reveal anything to me, but just said I should travel to the police station for a statement,” she said.

“Then, I was blank about the developments and did not suspect anything, as I thought it was one of the usual statements I was supposed to give the police so they continue with the search for my baby,” she said.

Sibanda said she travelled to Nyamandlovu Police Station together with her husband, Johanne Maphosa, on Thursday and the cops brought her baby to her.

“The police brought my baby on Friday and they told me that Sihle Mhlanga had been staying with my baby at Dlula area, 20km from St James High School turn-off,” she said.

She wept with joy, but this was short-lived. As soon she was brought face-to-face with the alleged baby snatcher, Sibanda the anger and resentment towards the 37-year-old accused and she attacked her.

“I was so angry at that moment and I could not hold my feelings,” she said. “I hit her hard on the face by throwing my Nokia phone at her.

She kept on insisting she had never set her eyes on me throughout her life and the baby was hers, as she gave birth to it at Gwanda Hospital.

“What also greatly angered me was that she never took good care of my baby, I realised it the moment I set my eyes on him.”

Sibanda said the baby looked malnourished and had a raspy cough to reflect that she was not taken good care of. As she spoke, she soon lit up and told Southern Eye she had since named her baby Pinky Sibonginkosi Maphosa and the family would celebrate her “birthday” today.

“Somehow, I could not give up, I had placed all my faith and trust in God’s hands,” Sibanda said.

Meanwhile, Mhlanga was yesterday convicted of stealing the baby from Sibanda who had given her overnight accommodation.

Mhlanga had pleaded not guilty to the charge, but was convicted by Bulawayo acting regional magistrate Crispen Mberewere.

She was remanded in custody to today for sentence.

Prosecutor Tinashe Dzipe told the court that sometime in May, Mhlanga went to house number U17 in Mzilikazi suburb and met the complainant.

On arrival at the house she told the complainant that she did not have a place to sleep for the night and asked for accommodation.

The complainant offered her accommodation with an understanding that she would leave the following morning to her destination, which she had not disclosed.

However, when the rest of the family members at the house were asleep, Mhlanga woke up at midnight. She stole the complainant’s baby and disappeared.

A police report was made, but they could not find her. After stealing the baby, Mhlanga smuggled it to Botswana and stayed there for two months. However, she arrived back in the country recently and was arrested.