Baby kidnapper handed five-year suspended sentence

2016-02-19 10:15


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Pietermaritzburg - The fact that 26-year-old Nokulunga Mzila is now a mother in her own right played a role in ensuring that she was not sent to prison for kidnapping another baby in April 2014.

Mzila, who lives in Edendale, was this week given a wholly suspended sentence of five years’ imprisonment for kidnapping baby Lwandle Olwethu Madlala at the Department of Home Affairs on April 15, 2014.

Regional magistrate V. Ngobese ordered that the sentence be suspended on condition that Mzila is not convicted of a similar offence within the next five years.

Among factors the court took into account were that Mzila has good prospects for rehabilitation and is currently the primary caregiver of her own child, who was born in May 2015.

Mzila had pleaded guilty and, in a written statement, revealed that she had kidnapped baby Olwethu soon after she gave birth to a stillborn baby on March 21, 2014.

According to Mzila’s statement she did not return to her fiancé’s home after she was discharged from hospital following the miscarriage, but went to live at her parents’ home instead.

“My fiancé kept insisting on seeing the baby, but I did not have the courage to tell him that the baby had died,” she said.

Mzila said her fiancé persisted to the extent that he would “shout” at her and make demands about the baby.

“On 15 April [2014], I had gone to the Department of Home Affairs, Pietermaritzburg, to complete certain documentation. While at Home Affairs I stood next to a lady who seemed to have a problem with her child in that she was unable to comfort the baby and continue completing some forms that she had in her possession.

“I began speaking to the lady and she allowed me to carry the baby. While I was carrying the baby my fiancé telephoned me once again and began shouting and scolding me. At that point I became overwhelmed with emotion, especially with having the baby in my arms, coupled with the loss of my own baby and the immense pressure from my fiancé,” she said.

Mzila said she told her fiancé she was returning home with their baby and took the child with her.

She went to her fiancé’s home and began caring for the baby.

On June 2, she took the baby with her to Edendale Mall to buy milk and nappies, when she was approached by a woman who she later realised was the baby’s mother.

Later that day police confronted her at her fiancé’s home and arrested her for kidnapping.

“The mother of the baby was in the company of the police and she confirmed that I was the person who had taken her baby. The baby was then handed over to the police,” she said.

Mzila admitted that she knew what she did was wrong and unlawful. She said she had intended to care for the baby as if he were her own.

“I am truly remorseful for my actions and beg the court’s mercy when imposing sentence,” she added.

In a pre-sentencing report, which is part of the court record, a social worker said Olwethu’s mother, Nonhlanhla Madlala, had been very traumatised by the baby’s kidnapping.

“She reported that during the incident she had sleepless nights as she did not know what was being done to the child … She lost weight as she was not eating.”

The social worker said Madlala had also wanted to commit suicide and might have done so had it not been for her supporters. She was also still fearful for and over-protective of her child in the wake of the incident.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  court

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