Even domestic workers should be background checked


Deputy minister returns abducted 3-year-old to East London family

News24 correspondent

King William’s Town – A 3-year-old girl from East London has been reunited with her parents after she was allegedly abducted by the family’s domestic worker.

The child was allegedly taken out of the country and held for R500 000 in ransom for more than a month.

The girl, Perfect Gift Msesiwe, was officially returned to her parents by Deputy Minister of Police, Maggie Sotyu on Thursday.

Sotyu issued a stern warning to parents, emphasising the need to check identification documents and do background checks on domestic workers, especially those meant to look after children.

The child was taken on August 3, allegedly by the 32-year-old domestic worker, who had been hired by the East London couple to help the girl’s grandmother look after her. The girl’s mother, Zolelwa, is a municipal official while her father, Siyabonga, works at a bank. The family live in Mdantsane.

The domestic worker allegedly disappeared with the girl just three weeks after being hired.

Following her abduction, the child was reported missing and the police family violence‚ child protection and sexual offences unit (FCS) initially took up the case. But a task team – consisting of the Hawks, Crime Intelligence, FCS, Organised Crime, Social Development and other roleplayers – was established to search for her after a ransom demand was received.

Provincial police spokesperson, Colonel Thembinkosi Kinana, said preliminary investigations revealed that the child was in Gauteng.

It was then later reported that the girl had been moved to Mozambique, which led to the involvement of Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Co-operation (SARPCCO) and Interpol.

“Police followed the leads and in the process it transpired that the perpetrators of the offence were looking for a ransom of R500 000 from the parents,” he said.

Kinana said the domestic worker who had allegedly kidnapped the child was arrested on Friday in East Rand and appeared briefly in court on Monday in Gauteng. She has not yet pleaded and can therefore not be named.

The woman is expected to appear again at the Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court on charges of kidnapping, illegal immigration, extortion and human trafficking. She will appear on September 15 2015.

Kinana said, at this stage, police were unable to release all the details regarding the circumstances surrounding the kidnapping due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.

“More information will be shared with the media at the appropriate time,” he said.

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