Stranger steals infant from teenage mum
Tembisa high schoolgirl Pretty Mahlaela is devastated.
She gave birth to a bouncy baby girl on the school lawn two weeks ago but, last Thursday, a woman pretending to be a Good Samaritan stole her baby.
So far, a frantic search by Johannesburg police and her family has yielded nothing. Police yesterday said they were viewing footage from CCTV cameras at the Carlton Centre where the baby was snatched.
Mahlaela, 17, got a phone call from a stranger last Wednesday saying she had won a voucher of baby clothing. The woman told her to come with the baby to Johannesburg the following day to collect the voucher.
"She said we should meet at the Carlton Centre because there were many shops with beautiful clothes for babies," the sobbing teenage mother said.
Instead of going back home smiling, with plastic bags full of baby clothes and food parcels, she was crying. The stranger had disappeared with her baby.
Mahlaela, of Winnie Mandela informal settlement in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni, said the thief took the baby and said she was going to show her to Zola (Bonginkosi Dlamini, aka Zola of the famous Zola 7 TV show).
On August 3, Sowetan published a story about Mahlaela - a pupil at Bokamoso High School in Tembisa - when she gave birth to Kgotsofatso, her second baby, on the school lawn.
Mahlaela said while she and the baby were on their way to the Carlton Centre, the stranger kept calling her to find out where she was and with whom.
Mahlaela had asked her mother to accompany her. When they got to the Carlton Centre, the strange woman greeted them with a smile.
"She could not stop complimenting my baby. She said Zola would like her. I am worried that I may not see my baby again," said a distraught Mahlaela.
She said she hoped whoever took her baby would return her unhurt. The baby's grandmother said she prayed the woman would be caught soon.
"We do not sleep at night thinking about her. I pray that God speaks to that woman so she can return my daughter's baby," said the grandmother, Juliet.
Mahlaela has not been to school since Kgotsofatso was abducted.
Captain Kwenza Hlengwa of Johannesburg police said no one had been arrested yet and confirmed that the police were still viewing video footage from the Carlton Centre.