A 25-year-old woman has appeared in court on charges of child stealing following an incident at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
A woman's screams rang out at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, sending security guards running to the women's bathroom to see what had happened.
There, they allegedly found a woman being "strangled", and her child in the process of being snatched.
The incident, which took place last week Wednesday, left hospital staff reeling.
“Security personnel heard a woman scream more than once and rushed to the toilet, on arrival the woman’s child was taken by the other woman. It appeared as if she was strangling her to keep quiet so she could leave with her baby,” said hospital spokesperson, Nkosiyethu Mazibuko.
The baby was rescued before the woman could leave the bathroom.
Mazibuko said that according to hospital records, the alleged baby snatcher was a patient who had been discharged the previous day.
“When she was questioned as to why she did not leave the hospital, she claimed she would have transport difficulties as she was discharged in the evening,” he said.
The 25-year-old woman allegedly hung around and befriended a woman who had taken a child to hospital for a check-up.
The mother told the hospital management she had been waiting for her husband after the check-up. While she waited, she needed to go to the bathroom.
“As she was waiting, this woman kept on playing with her child and offered to walk them to the bathroom, where she would hold the baby,” said Mazibuko.
The woman was caught and questioned before she could leave the bathroom with the child.
Police spokesperson Capt Phephi Matlou-Mteto confirmed that the woman was arrested. She was charged with child stealing, and appeared in the Orlando magistrate's court last week Thursday.
Before her arrest, she was questioned but gave “conflicting” versions of her story.
The woman is scheduled to make her second court appearance on Tuesday, October 8.