Baby snatcher sentenced

Baby Sikhanyiso

Gabisile Mndaweni, pleaded guilty in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court to kidnapping baby Sikhanyiso on December 18, taking the infant to her home in Hammarsdale in an attempt to salvage her marriage.

A pre-sentencing report to Magistrate Muntukhayise Khumalo detailed that the 42-year-old had two young children who died due to chronic illness,and fell pregnant again last year but secretly miscarried.

In an attempt to persuade the magistrate not to deliver a harsh sentence, Mndaweni’s attorney, Sicelo Nyandu, said she had received “tremendous” pressure from her husband and sometimes received verbal abuse for not being able to bare children.“She has suffered strain in her marriage and did not consider her actions with a sound mind,” said Nyandu. He further urged the court to consider that she was a first time offender and a direct imprisonment would expose her to hardened criminals.

Also read: Baby snatched in CBD

State prosecutor advocate, Miriam Aboobaker, counter-argued Nyandu saying that kidnapping was becoming “rife” and in Mndaweni’s case, she had plotted and planned to kidnap the infant. Aboobaker added Mndaweni took advantage of 17-year-old teenage mother Bongeka Ngcobo.

Maritzburg Sun previously reported the infant was found by police in Hammarsdale after a rigorous search, taking Mndaweni into custody for the kidnapping on December 28.

On Sunday, December 31, Ngcobo’s joy of having her son returned was short lived as the infant died before turning a month old.
Magistrate Khumalo, in sentencing, agreed with the state prosecutor’s argument. “The child had no time to bond with his mother; she was selfish when committing this crime. She was only thinking about herself. It never occurred to her that there were other people involved,”said Khumalo.
Khumalo also took into consideration Mndaweni’s personal circumstances but said her actions were inexcusable.
Sitting in the public gallery sobbing, the teenage mom said she was happy that justice had been served but will have to live with her loss as no prison sentence, she said, could ever bring her child back.

  AUTHOR
Bongeka Sibisi
Journalist

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