Abductor arrested in Soweto

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi

Five days of hell are over for a Tembisa schoolgirl, Pretty Mahlaela.

Mahlaela was reunited with her 2-week-old baby Kgotsofatso yesterday, thanks to the Johannesburg police's swift reaction.

Her baby was abducted last Thursday. And the 22-year-old woman who abducted her was arrested last night. Police apprehended the suspect in Dlamini, Soweto.

Gauteng police spokesman Commissioner Perumal Naidoo said the huge and frantic search included studying CCTV camera footage from the Carlton Centre, and tracing the cellphone number the kidnapper had used to call Mahlaela.

A woman pretending to be a Good Samaritan lured Mahlaela to the Carlton Centre by saying she had won a voucher of baby clothing.

She also told her that she would meet Zola 7, whose real name is Bonginkosi Dlamini, of the famous Zola 7 TV show. She insisted that Mahlaela come with the baby.

When they met outside a Steers franchise, the abductor immediately wanted to see the baby. She said she was going to show the baby to Zola, but she disappeared with the infant.

It is believed that the abductor wanted a baby of her own but is barren.

Speaking to Sowetan at her home at Winnie Mandela informal settlement in Tembisa, Mahlaela said she was happy to be reunited with her baby and denied she might have colluded with the abductor.

"I feel relieved now that I am holding my baby again," Mahlaela said.

She said given the chance, she would ask the woman why she stole her baby.

The baby's grandmother, Juliet Mahlaela, thanked the police for their swift action.

"Now we will be able to eat and sleep," she said.

The visibly elated grandmother said she hoped the abductor would be punished for her "sin".

On October 3, Sowetan published a report about Mahlaela, a pupil at Bokamoso High School in Tembisa, when she gave birth to Kgotsofatso, her second baby, on the school lawn.

The kidnapper will appear in the Johannesburg magistrate's court today.