Sibongile Mbambo, a 34-year-old South African mother who orchestrated the fake abduction of her baby Siwaphiwe‚ has been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.
According to The Sowetan Live, Sibongile Mbambo had carefully hatched the abduction on order to hide her extramarital affair.
Her sentence was handed down by Regional Court magistrate Anand Maharaj on Wednesday. She had pled guilty to charges of defeating the ends of justice and fraud. Her leave to appeal was refused and she was taken into custody.
News of baby Siwaphiwe Mbambo’s abduction last year, sparked nationwide concern and made local and international headlines. The then month old baby was abducted during a hijacking in Durban.
The Durban Regional Court heard on Tuesday‚ how the mother, Mbambo carefully hatched the abduction in an effort to hide her sordid extra-marital affair from her husband.
Details of the plot‚ which led police on a province-wide search for the baby in March last year‚ were laid before Magistrate Anand Maharaj as Mbambo’s attorney‚ Mfanafuthi Biyela‚ led evidence in mitigation of sentence.
Mbambo and her lover‚ Phumlani Mbokazi‚ 26‚ faced charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice after their web of lies was unravelled by police investigating the abduction of Siwaphiwe‚ supposedly taken during a hijacking gone awry at a shopping mall. The woman had pled guilty‚ while Mbokazi’s trial has yet to commence.
On Tuesday‚ a probation officer and a social worker testified that Mbambo had detailed the extent of her plans and what had driven her to stage the child-snatching.
Social worker Lydia Watson testified that during her consultation with Mbambo‚ she revealed that she’d met Mbokazi at a shop two months before she had fallen pregnant.
“She had fallen pregnant and during that time she was uncertain of who the father was because she had had relations with the biological father and her husband‚” she said.
After the child was born‚ Watson said that Mbokazi had sent her pictures of his other children to compare to Siwaphiwe.
“On seeing pictures of the other children this crystallised‚ in her mind‚ that he was the father.”
She feared that the physical appearance of the child would reveal that her husband was not the father.
“She was part of a polygamous relationship and she was much younger than her husband and she missed the affection [of other men]‚” Watson said‚ as a possible reason for her affair.
The baby was returned to the mother’s custody late last year‚ despite her having been convicted to fraud and defeating the ends of justice.
The Family Court had ordered that the child be returned to the natural mother after social workers had moved to have the baby transferred to the care of her maternal grandmother.
On Monday‚ her husband‚ Christopher‚ testified in mitigation of sentence for his wife. He revealed that he had doubts about the paternity of the baby before their scheme was hatched.
Trying to justify why his wife had mislead the media and staged a radio appeal for her child’s safe return‚ he said she was scared and confused.