Kidnap accused for observation

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

Eighteen-year-old Stephina Phele, who is accused of kidnapping three-year-old Lesley Mhlanga, was referred for mental observation when she appeared in the Wynberg magistrates' court in Alexandra, Johannesburg, yesterday.

Phele was arrested three weeks ago in Ga-Mabotja village, outside Polokwane in Limpopo.

When found the child had been renamed Kabelo and spoke Sepedi, which his mother Neria Mhlanga, said he had never spoken before.

Lesley was reunited with his mother on July 18 after he had disappeared from his Alexandra home for a month.

The police had earlier arrested Selina Khumalo, 33, the former girlfriend of the child's father. Khumalo subsequently appeared in court and was released on R1000 bail. Charges have since been dropped against her.

Phele's case will resume on September 5.