Heartbroken mom hopes her son is unharmed

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

"I just want my baby back. He has been taken away from me for too long."

This is a desperate plea by Neria Mhlanga, a mother who has not seen her 3-year-old son for three weeks.

Mhlanga's son, Lesley Ntokozo Mhlanga, dis-appeared outside his home in Alexandra, Johannesburg, while playing with friends.

Police have now arrested a woman, a girlfriend of the boy's father, in connection with the child's disappearance. But she has denied any involvement prompting the police to continue their search for the boy.

For the people of Alexandra, the arrest of the woman reminds them of the recent case of Dina Rodrigues, who was recently jailed for life by the Cape Town high court for the murder of her former boyfriend's child.

"He loved playing with teddy bears and toy guns. Seeing his toys everyday hurts me," said Mhlanga

Meanwhile, police spokesman Sergeant Sanku Tsunke has confirmed that a 47-year-old Alexandra woman, Selina Khumalo, who fitted the description of the person who lured Lesley away was arrested on Sunday.

"We have arrested the father's ex-girlfriend in connection with Lesley's disappearance and she was charged with kidnapping."

Tsunke said Khumalo had not confessed to the kidnapping and was released on R1000 bail.

Khumalo will appear in the Wynberg magistrates' court on July 24.

Mhlanga, 46, a domestic worker and mother of five, lives in a one-roomed shack with three other children.

Lesley was abducted from his home by a woman who promised him sweets.

Mhlanga and Lesley's father have been separated for three years but his father continued to support and visit him.

"I do not know her but if she has my baby she must just bring him back, unharmed. I have no energy for anything. I can't even eat or sleep. I only drink water," said Mhlanga

She has sent her other two children to Hammanskraal in North West to live with her relatives.

On Tuesday, police took Mhlanga to the Alexandra Clinic where she was given sedatives.

"I have to make an appointment with a psychologist at the clinic so that I can receive counselling."

Mhlanga had hopes of finding her son when the police asked her to accompany them to Tembisa Hospital to identify a boy believed to be Lesley. But her hopes were dashed when it turned out that the boy was someone else.

"I had a feeling I was going to see my baby again. But I was heartbroken when it turned out that the boy was not my son."