© Gallo Images / The Times / Jackie Clausen Sibongile Mbambo and Phumlani Mbokazi appear at the Durban Magistrate’s Court for allegedly kidnapping Sibongile’s 1-month-old baby Siwaphiwe on March 13, 2017 in Durban, South Africa…
DURBAN – A man accused of “kidnapping” a one-month-old baby girl from the Durban city centre on Friday is adamant he is her real father and says he took her because her life was in danger.
The man, along with the infant’s mother, who has also been charged in connection with the incident, made a brief appearance before the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
They were met by a swarm of journalists as they emerged, she with her face wrapped in a scarf and he with his gaze downcast.
Appearing embarrassed, the woman whispered to magistrate Mahomed Motala that she had met with a lawyer, but that she was not in court and she did not know her surname.
No indication as to whether or not she would apply for bail was given.
The man was represented by Andile Dakela, who said his client would be applying for bail.
Their case was remanded for two days for DNA testing to be done.
Currently the pair are charged with kidnapping and defeating or obstructing the course of justice, but more charges are expected to be added before the next court date.
Speaking to the press afterwards, Dakela said the facts of the matter were “very simple”.
“You have my client who had been involved in a relationship and as a result thereof, a child was born.
“According to my firm instructions, there was a threat to the life of the child which then prompted my client to react swiftly to save the child.”
DNA samples are expected to be taken from the infant, the accused, who claims to be her father, as well as her mother’s husband, who was initially believed to be her father.
“The reason why we have to postpone the matter for DNA is mainly to actually deal with the issue of kidnapping.
“The law says no one can kidnap his or her own child, so if a determination is made on that aspect then the kidnapping charge falls away.”
He went on to say that his client’s co-accused had voluntarily handed over her child and her vehicle to him.
The baby’s mother reported her infant kidnapped after a “hijacking” in Greyville last Friday.
News quickly spread and a nationwide search for the baby ensued.
Her mother and her mother’s husband both made public appeals for the safe return of the infant.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, police pulled a vehicle over at the Mariannhill Toll Plaza and found the baby, along with the man who claims to be her father and another woman inside.
The baby was believed to have been in New Hanover, near Pietermaritzburg.
The man and the woman found with the baby were arrested, as was the baby’s mother.
The other woman, however, has since been released because of insufficient evidence against her.
The baby’s mother’s husband did attend court proceedings on Monday, but he refused to talk to the press afterwards and became upset when approached.