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Mpumalanga woman who stole newborn baby sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment

Bawinile Lusenga has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment for kidnapping Nthombentsha Manana's newborn baby 22 years ago. File photo.
Bawinile Lusenga has been sentenced to five years' imprisonment for kidnapping Nthombentsha Manana's newborn baby 22 years ago. File photo.
Image: Supplied

A Mpumalanga woman who stole a newborn in 2001 was on Wednesday sentenced to five years' imprisonment for kidnapping by the Ermelo regional court.

The Carolina woman, Bawinile Lusenga, was found guilty in April.

Nthombentsha Manana’s daughter, now known as Thulisile Lusenga, was born on March 23 2001.

TimesLIVE Premium reported that Manana was on her way with her sister to the Ermelo taxi rank after she was discharged from hospital when she was abducted.

“I was feeling very weak,” Manana said. A strange woman — later found to be Lusenga — joined them. According to TimesLIVE Premium, Lusenga disappeared with Manana's baby after she had given her the baby while she went to call her sister who was in a shop. 

I started feeling worse, and the woman said she would hold my baby while I go call my sister. When I came back she was gone.”

After that, the family searched for the child for years without success.

In 2021, Manana's second-born child, Senzo, saw a picture of Thulisile on Facebook and remarked how she looked like his mother. They went to the police, and a DNA test was done, which revealed that Thulisile was Manana's daughter.

Lusenga was arrested in November 2021.

In mitigation of sentence, the court heard emotional testimony by Thulisile, now 21. Thulisile told the court that Lusenga was the only mother she knew.

In aggravation of sentence, Manana testified that the kidnapping had a serious impact on her life. 

Though Thulisile testified that the woman who kidnapped her encouraged her to form a relationship with her biological family, her biological mother denied this claim in her testimony. 

TimesLIVE

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