East London toddler kidnapped for ransom reunited with parents

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015

Deputy Minister of Police, Maggie Sotyu, on Thursday warned parents to check critical documents like IDs and to do background checks whenever they are employing domestic workers. She issued this warning during a media briefing at the handing over of a child that had been kidnapped for ransom by her nanny back to her family at NU 6, in Mdantsane, East London. 

The briefing was also attended by MEC for Safety  Security and liason, Weziwe Tikana; MEC for Social Development, Nancy Sihlwayi and Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lt General Celiwe Binta.

During this briefing attended by family members and community members, a three year old child, Perfect Gift Msesiwe was officially handed over to her parents who were overjoyed and delighted to be reunited with their child. This media briefing and child handing over followed after an incident where by three-year-old girl was reported missing on 03 August 2015.

Following this report, a lot of speculation on the circumstances surrounding this particular incident were reported in various media outlets.

After the child was reported missing to the police, a Joint Operation Centre was established in East London which involved the following units: Hawks, Crime Intelligence, FCS, Organised Crime, Social development and other role players and the search for the missing child started.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the child was in Gauteng  and was later reported to be in Mozambique. Police followed the leads and in the process it transpired that the perpetrators of the offence were looking for money-a ransom of R500 000.00 from the parents.

Police investigators worked hard with their Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation (SARPCCO) and Interpol.

Subsequently, the suspect involved in the kidnapping of the child was arrested on Friday, 04 September in East Rand and appeared before the court of law on Monday in Gauteng.

The thirty-two-year-old female suspect is expected to appear again at the Mdantsane Magistrate's Court facing charges of kidnapping, illegal immigration, extortion and human trafficking on Tuesday next week.

At this stage, police are unable to release all the details regarding the circumstances surrounding this incident, due to the sensitive nature of the investigation. More information will be shared with the media at the appropriate time.

Deputy Minister Sotyu extended her gratitude to the family of the child who was subjected to this unnecessary trauma and suffering for their patience and understanding and also allowing the investigation to continue without any interference.

"Children are the future of this country and therefore they do not deserve this kind of treatment. We have been on record saying that our only weapon to fight crime and other social evils is through unity and partnership. We encourage members of the community to form part of the crime fighting initiatives within their areas and to report any suspicious elements within their communities."

Image: EC Provincial Commissioner, Lt General Celiwe Binta welcoming the parents of the missing child at the provincial headquarters with Brigadier Galawe, Head of hawks EC looking on in grey suit Community members at Mdantsane welcoming the lost and found child at NU 6 Mdantsane.