Family, angry crowd outraged as kidnapping case delayed again

2016-09-30 11:53

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Malamulele – The family of a 17-year-old mother who was kidnapped with her toddler, allegedly by a traffic officer, was joined by an angry crowd outside the Saselamani Magistrate's Court after the case was delayed again on Wednesday.

Masingita Chabane, 47, a traffic officer at the Malamulele Traffic Department, together with co-accused Stephen Sithole, 24, are facing charges of kidnapping a minor, and abducting Hlulani Maswanganyi (who is a relative of Masingita Chabane). 

Warrant Officer Samuel Matshimbi, of the Saselamani police station, said the abduction took place on September 20, 2015, when the traffic officer allegedly took the mother and toddler to buy clothes.

"A few days later, the toddler was found inside a vehicle. A body, that was thought to be that of the 17-year-old mother who was half burnt, was also found, but DNA results showed that it was not her. The suspects were taken in for questioning and charged," said Matshimbi.

The case was postponed to October 20, because of delays in the State's case.

Angry protesters outside court threw stones at police, who responded with rubber bullets and teargas.

Dennis Chabane, from the South African National Civic Organisation, told News24 that "we are very angry by the delay of this matter. Every time we come to court they postpone it".

'Dragged on too long'

Maswanganyi's uncle, Magezi Mahlaule, said the family had lost faith in the courts.

"This case has dragged on for too long. It's been a year since we have been attending and she (Masingita Chabane) has never pointed where they took Hlulani. We don't know whether she is alive or dead. Even if she is dead, we want her remains so that we can find closure and give her a decent funeral," he said.

The State asked the court for a further postponement because investigations were not yet complete.

"We would like to ask the court to postpone the matter because the investigations are incomplete as we have to take statements in both Thohoyandou and Malamulele," said the State prosecutor.

Magistrate Daniel Maluleke, for his part, was also clearly highly frustrated.

"This case has taken so long now," he said. "It's been a year... and it's difficult for me to direct this case to where it belongs; whether it's High Court or Regional Court because of incomplete investigations. Can the State make follow ups that investigations are complete during the next appearance so that we can see a way forward?" he asked.

Masingita Chabane is also facing a case of using a stolen vehicle, which she allegedly used to kidnap the toddler and abduct Hlulani Maswanganyi, which was also postponed to October 20.

She is currently serving a three-year sentence for misplacing her work firearm, which her son, a Grade 11 pupil at Malamulele High School, took to threaten other children at school.

She is alleged also to have faked her pregnancy to take four months’ leave, during which period the kidnapping took place. 

Read more on:    limpopo  |  crime

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