'Technicality' frees alleged child kidnapper

2015-06-11 07:17
(Naledi Shange, News24)

(Naledi Shange, News24)

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Johannesburg - A woman who admitted to kidnapping a Katlehong child and keeping him captive for five months is walking free because police possibly botched the case against her.

The woman was arrested last week when the 6-year-old boy's father saw him while on his way to a local spaza shop in another part of Katlehong, about 15km from where he was snatched.

"A 28-year-old woman was arrested at Sphandla informal settlement and the suspect was taken to court. Unfortunately the case was not put onto the roll due to technicalities. So investigations are still going on in the case," said Constable Mega Ndobe.

He said he could not divulge the details of the technicalities. In the meantime, the woman was set free.

Justice

The child's 23-year-old mother, Thembisile Mokwena, she said she wanted justice served after the trauma she and her family had gone through.

She was shocked when News24 told her the child's alleged captor was back in the community.

"No! I had not heard, but no! She cannot go free, not after the pain that she put us through," Mokwena said.

On Wednesday morning, Mokwena related how her son went missing on January 9.

"It was a Friday and Kagiso was playing with his friend at the park. From what I heard, a light-skinned woman came along and called my son by name.

"Kagiso went to her and she asked the children to accompany her to the corner. When they got there, the one told my son they should go back home, but the woman would not let my son go," Mokwena said.

"The other child ran away and came to inform my mother that Kagiso had been taken," said Mokwena.

Mokwena had been away visiting a relative at the time. She received a call from her mother, telling her that her son had gone missing.

"I shook all over when I heard that. I immediately came home and we searched everywhere. I even went to the radio station to make an announcement, asking for him to be brought back. As the days went by, I kept wondering whether he was alive and if so, what was he eating, what was he eating," she said.

DNA tests

The police kept her in the loop about their investigations. She even had DNA tests done, in a case a body was found.

"The only thing that got me through this was prayer and faith in God. I had faith that my son would be found alive," she said.

Mokwena was overjoyed when, on June 1, police knocked at her door, telling her they had a surprise for her. Her son was waiting outside the house.

"I cried at the thought of how good God is. It was a miracle," she said.

"He was found by his father and another policeman in Sphamandla section. They say the woman who stole him had sent him to the spaza shop to buy eggs. His father lives in the Sunrise section. On that day, he was going to see his uncle in Sphamandla.

"He had just come from the police station to get an update on his son's case when he was given a lift to Sphamandla by another police officer.

"When he was walking, he came face-to-face with his son. He asked him where he was going and Kagiso said he was on his way to buy eggs. Nokwazi, the woman he was living with, had sent him to the shop."

Mokwena said the father alerted other residents who went to the woman's house, assaulted her and took her to the police station.

"It was 16:00. He had not eaten yet which is why he was going to buy eggs. But other than that, he seemed physically fine," said Mokwena.

When her son was brought back later, he still had the money for the eggs. The boy played in the house and fiddled with his mother's cellphone as she spoke to News24.

Clean bill of health

She said her child had seen a doctor and been given a clean bill of health.

"He tells us that he was stolen but it doesn't seem to have affected him mentally. He sleeps well and seems happy," said Mokwena.

She had never met the woman who allegedly kidnapped him and had not yet seen her following her arrest last week.  

"From what I hear, she said she took my son because she is barren. I don't know why she did not go to an orphanage instead of taking my child," Mokwena said.

The alleged kidnapper had a boyfriend who knew about Kagiso.

"Apparently they were together a few years ago and then they broke up. When they got back together, the woman told the man that this was their child, that she was pregnant when they broke up years ago.

"She even gave my son a new name. She named him Sibusiso."

Sphamandla residents said they did not know much about the incident.

Mokwena said she suspected the woman took her child to Dundee, in KwaZulu-Natal, where she was originally from.

"I can tell by his dialect that he was in KwaZulu-Natal. He uses some words that are only used by the people in Natal so I can tell he has spent some time there," said Mokwena.

Boy was mistreated

She suspected the woman returned to Katlehong when she felt the search had died down.  

"My son says most of the time he was locked up in her shack [in Katlehong]. He tells me he was mistreated by the woman. He says she smacked him, made him clean the shack and do the dishes."

Mokwena explained that she and Kagiso's father were separated. She did not blame him for his disappearance but admits there were times when she thought he could have been involved in the kidnapping.

The police had however since cleared him of any wrongdoing.

The ordeal had made Mokwena cautious of parting with her son. He missed half of his Grade 1 year, but she planned to take him to school for the start of the new term in July.

"He will have to repeat the grade next year, but I want him to go back to school next month," she said, adding that his uniform was ready.

"I am willing to forgive her but she must spend time in jail and think of what she put me through," Mokwena said of the kidnapper.

With the latest development in the case, it was unclear whether justice would ever be served.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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