Heavy jail terms for convicted baby sellers

2017-09-28 10:45
The Westville Prison where it has been reported that 50 awaiting-trial prisoners live in a cell that is meant for only 30 inmates. (Jackie Clausen, Gallo Images, Sunday Times)

The Westville Prison where it has been reported that 50 awaiting-trial prisoners live in a cell that is meant for only 30 inmates. (Jackie Clausen, Gallo Images, Sunday Times)

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Durban - They sold a six-month-old baby boy for R2 500 and an air conditioner which they pawned for R600.

But now two women - who posed as a caring "teacher" and "social worker" - will spend an effective 20 years and 10 years respectively behind bars after being convicted of human trafficking laws, kidnapping, corruption and money-laundering.

In spite of their pleas of innocence, Tazley Msweli and Sibongile Ndimande, who both live in the Pinetown area, were convicted of all charges by Pinetown Regional Court Magistrate KQ Hadebe and were sentenced this week.

READ: PMB mom gets suspended sentence for trying to sell child on Gumtree

The biological mother of the child, who lives in Durban's Point area, testified that she had met Msweli at hospital where she had taken her baby because he was sick.

She said she had "poured out her heart" to Msweli about her dire financial situation.

Mastermind

While Msweli claimed the mother contacted her some time later and asked for her help in finding a home for the child, the mother denied this, telling the court: "Even though I was poor I would not give up my child."

Evidence was that Msweli was the mastermind and charmed Ndimande into getting involved in the money-making scam.

They went round to the mother's house, posing as a teacher and social worker and made promises that they could assist in getting groceries for her.

They persuaded her to go to town to do shopping. When she went inside to buy the groceries, they offered to hold the baby. When she came out five minutes later they had disappeared with the child.

The "adoptive" mother, who cared for the baby for six months before being caught, managed to raise R2 500 as an "administration fee" and offered them the air conditioning unit to make up the balance.

She said she presumed the baby had been abandoned but conceded that proper adoption procedures had not been followed.

She too was arrested and pleaded guilty in 2016 before another magistrate. She received a sentence of correctional supervision and a fine.

When she testified at Msweli and Ndimande's trial, she spoke of how she could not have her own child, was desperate for one, and how she got to love the baby.

It was devastating when he was taken away.

'No heart'

Prosecutor senior state advocate Val Dafel argued that neither accused had shown any remorse during the trial while two families had been seriously affected by the crime.

Passing sentence, Magistrate Hadebe said the elements of pain and suffering, both of the child and others involved, were upper most in her mind.

"Not knowing what had happened to their child… accused one [Msweli] had no heart."

She said the baby had been used as a "commodity" through which the two accused had made a profit.

"They also took advantage of the mother's dire financial situation. They exploited her situation," she said.

In total, she sentenced Msweli to 45 years in jail and Ndimande to 25 years, but ordered that some of the sentences run concurrently making their effective sentences 20 and 10 years respectively.

Read more on:    durban  |  child abuse  |  crime

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