It was a story that gripped the country.
One-month-old Siwaphiwe Mbambo was missing after a hijacking on a Friday afternoon in March‚ and Durbanites – and the rest of the country via social media – went on the search‚ as #HelpFindDurbanBaby and #BabySiwaphiwe trended.
As it would turn out‚ the baby had not been kidnapped‚ but was taken by her biological father as part of a plot hatched by the mother‚ Sbongile Mbambo.
Mbambo came clean yesterday for the first time on her role‚ pleading guilty to crafting the ruse‚ which set police on a province-wide manhunt for her “missing” child.
She and her secret lover, Phumlani Mbokazi‚ the child’s father‚ were arrested after they misled police into carrying out a massive two-day search for Siwaphiwe.
This followed a “hijacking” outside the City View Shopping Centre in Greyville‚ Durban‚ which had people around the country praying for the safe return of the baby.
The lovers faced charges of fraud and defeating the ends of justice.
Three days after the incident‚ it was revealed that a secret love affair lay at the heart of the baby’s abduction‚ which culminated in a car chase and Siwaphiwe being found with her kidnappers.
Mbambo‚ a primary school teacher‚ unpacked her web of lies in a plea statement read into the record in the Durban Regional Court yesterday.
She admitted to defrauding the police in spurring their search for a child who was never actually missing‚ defeating the ends of justice and making a false statement.
“I admit that my actions were wrongful and unlawful,” she said.
She is expected to return to court next month for sentencing. – TimesLIVE