Mandisa Mlambo opens up about her son's kidnapping

By Drum Digital
30 November 2016

For the first time since their toddler was kidnapped, the traumatised parents of Siyabonga Madubung from Soweto speak about their ordeal

At just 15 months old, the little boy is a pleasure to be around. He smiles at the camera and strikes a confident pose.

Sitting on his father’s tall shoulders, Siyabonga Madubung looks inquisitively at the animals that surround him at the Johannesburg Zoo and is curious about everything he sees and touches.

His calm demeanour shows no trace of the traumatic event that disrupted his young life little more than a month ago: he was the victim of a kidnapping that left his mother, Mandisa Mlambo, and father, Tshepo Madubung, paralysed with fear.

In late October, Mandisa came home from work to find two men in the yard of her home in Protea Glen, Soweto. Unsure of who they were, she knocked on the kitchen door and asked her nanny and cousin, Nompilo Mpanza – who was looking after Siya at the time – to open the door.

Within seconds the men, one of whom had a knife, grabbed her and barged into the house. “The man with the knife said he would kill me if I screamed, and he led me to a bedroom where he tied me up,” she says.

The men began swearing at Nompilo and asked for money. They took Mandisa’s ATM cards and demanded the Pins. “It was the day I had been paid and I was afraid they would take every penny I had so I gave them the wrong PIN,” she tells us.

“I shouldn’t have. One of the men went to the ATM with Siya and Nompilo and threatened to kill Siya if I didn’t give him the correct PIN over the phone.”

She then gave the correct PIN and money was withdrawn from her account. On their return, the men tied up Nompilo and began searching the house.

Bizarrely, they also switched on the TV, made food for themselves and settled in to relax and spend the night there. “I didn’t sleep because I was worried about Siya,” Mandisa says. “When they woke up they told me to dress him and pack his diapers because they were taking him away. I pleaded with them not to take him or hurt him.”

The robbers left with Siya, taking cellphones, clothes and other household items. “Nompilo’s four-year-old daughter had been in the house amid the chaos the entire time, and when the men left we instructed her to get a pair of scissors to free us. We then ran for help,” the 30-year old recalls.

Read more in 8 December issue of DRUM

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