Kidnap: new suspect

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

The case against an Alexandra woman accused of kidnapping a three-year-old boy has been dropped - and a woman from Limpopo has been charged instead.

Selina Thembi Khumalo, 33, was arrested for the alleged kidnapping of Lesley Lungelo Mhlanga, who disappeared while playing outside his home last month.

Police have now charged 18-year-old Stephina Phele with the kidnapping.

Khumalo, who was released on R1000 bail, was due to appear in court today, but she will instead go to court to collect her bail money.

Last week, Mhlangu was reunited with his mother, Neria, 45, after information led police to Ga-Mabotja, a village near Polokwane. The child was found with Phele.

The child said his name was "Kabelo" and he spoke Sepedi, which his mother said he had never spoken before.

Sergeant Sanku Tsunke of the Alexandra police said: "Khumalo appeared in an identity parade, but witnesses could not point her out."

Khumalo claims that Alexandra police put a black plastic bag over her head and forced her to confess to the kidnapping.

She is the second person in this case to accuse police of torture.

The child's father, Mzwandile Jele, 37, said his hands were handcuffed behind his back and a refuse bag was put over his face.

He said he would decide whether to lay charges after collecting his bail money.

Phele appeared in the Wynberg magistrates court on Friday and will remain in police custody until her next appearance at the end of the month.