Baby girl, 2, is stolen by child minder

DESPERATE MOM: Lindiwe Esther Mokoena. Pic. Mbuzeni Zulu. 11/02/2007, © Sowetan.
DESPERATE MOM: Lindiwe Esther Mokoena. Pic. Mbuzeni Zulu. 11/02/2007, © Sowetan.

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

A child nanny-turned-napper is on the loose and police are hot on her heels after she allegedly kidnapped and disappeared with a baby she was looking after.

Two-year-old Valentine Radebe of Milton Court in Hillbrow, was last seen on January 5 with her minder, Nomsa Madondo.

According to the child's mother, Lindiwe Mokoena, Madondo allegedly took the baby with her under the pretext that she was going to visit a friend in Zakariah Park.

"She used to take my daughter with her to her friend's place in Rosebank for about two or three days at a time and would return safely. But this time she didn't even show up at the friend's place," Mokoena said.

Madondo is believed to be from Mnambithi in KwaZulu-Natal.

She previously stayed at Mzimhlophe Hostel in Soweto, later moved to Doornfontein and subsequently moved to Milton Court, a government flat in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.

The two women met at Park Station, where Mokoena was staying and had been selling vegetables since October.

She spent three weeks at the station because she had no shelter.

"I trusted her and accepted her as my own sister because she took me into her home last year when I had nowhere to stay," said Mokoena.

Madondo told the mother that she would be gone for three days.

"I became very worried when she did not return and went to search for her.

"I asked around and everybody knew her, but they all said they had not seen her lately," the distraught mother said.

"The woman told me she was going to visit in Zakariah Park and would return on Thursday. When she did not return, it was like I was loosing my mind," she added.

Initially she did not report the matter to the police because she trusted Madondo.

"We had been staying together for months now and because my daughter was so fond of her, I never for one second thought she could do a thing like this."

She told Sowetan that this was too much for her because the missing child's father, Sibusiso Zwane, was had been admitted to hospital about four months ago for TB.

"Even now I haven't told him about our child's disappearance. I fear the news will just finish him off," said Mokoena.