Hunt on for baby 'thief'

Riot Hlatshwayo

Riot Hlatshwayo

Mpumalanga police have appealed to the public to help track down a woman known as Teleni Zodwa Mnisi, who allegedly stole a four-month-old baby last Wednesday.

The baby girl was in the company of her grandmother, who worked close to Mnisi as vegetable vendors near the Thulamahashe shopping centre, when Mnisi asked to take the baby along to the local supermarket to buy her yoghurt.

After a while when Mnisi did not return, the grandmother, N'wa Mabothe, became worried and went to the supermarket to look for the two.

"A woman at the till point said she had seen Mnisi with the baby on her back. I was surprised when I was told Mnisi bought a lot of clothing for the baby before leaving the shop," said the shocked Mabothe.

She then went to Jazzville section where Mnisi lived with her grandmother, Zabela Thumbu, but was told that she had packed her bags and left.

Some street vendors at the Marimi crossroads later told Mabothe that they had seen Mnisi boarding a taxi to Bushbuckridge.

"It was only then that it dawned on me that the baby was gone but what surprised me even more was that Teleni left her stock on the table next to mine where we sell fruit and vegetables together," said Mabothe.

She then went to her own home to inform the baby's parents, Seun Sibanda and Tinyiko Mabothe, about the disappearance of the child.

The family then reported the matter to the Mhala police but the baby's parents said they were too shocked to comment about the theft of their child.

Mhala police spokesperson Constable Robert Makhubele confirmed that the police were investigating a case of child theft.

"The suspect is known and we are asking members of the community who may see her to contact the nearest police station," said Makhubele.

Police received information that Mnisi had apparently gone to Gauteng with the baby.

"Some people claim the suspect is in Tembisa [East Rand]," said Makhubele.