Siwaphiwe is my baby - accused
The man charged with the abduction of baby Siwaphiwe Mbambo is hoping a paternity test will get him off a kidnapping charge.
Proceedings were adjourned in the Durban Magistrate's Court yesterday so Phumlani Mbokazi could undergo a DNA test that he claims will show he is the biological father of the month-old infant kidnapped in what the police say was a staged hijacking in Durban on Friday.
The abduction spawned the hashtag #BringBackDurbanBaby and prompted a massive police search.
Mbokazi, 26, and the baby's mother, married primary school teacher S'bongile Mbambo, 35, appeared briefly in the Durban Magistrate's Court yesterday on charges of defeating the ends of justice and kidnapping.
The baby, who has been given a clean bill of health, is being cared for by social workers at a Durban place of safety.
Mbokazi's lawyer, Andile Dakela, told the court that his client would give DNA samples for a paternity test.
Dakela told the media after the adjournment: "My client believes the child is a product of his relationship with the mother and if he is the father he cannot have kidnapped his own child. That charge will fall away."
Dakela said Mbokazi believed baby Siwaphiwe's life was in danger but did not elaborate.
Mbambo's husband, Christopher, refused to comment on the DNA testing and the identity of the baby's father.
Mbambo had told the police she and her eight-year-old son had been forced out of their car at gunpoint by two hijackers near the City View shopping centre in Greyville, Durban.
The recovery of the car hours later, undamaged but with the baby and her nappy-bag missing, fuelled the doubts of detectives.
Sources say a break in the case came when Mbambo, under intense questioning by detectives, revealed her secret affair.
Detectives began a search for her lover and closed in on him as he was returning to Durban with the baby at about midnight on Saturday.
After a high-speed chase near the Mariannhill toll plaza, Mbokazi was arrested and a wailing Siwaphiwe recovered.
Also in the vehicle was Mbokazi's girlfriend, who was detained but has not been charged. Makhapha Lower Primary School principal Khethe Chili told The Times yesterday that staff at the Inanda school at which Mbambo teaches were shocked to learn about the incident.
"We got to know about the allegations like everyone else. We were shocked because she is a good woman and a dedicated teacher."
He said Mbambo was a foundation phase teacher at the school and was on maternity leave.
"I have submitted a report to the Mafukuzela-Gandhi circuit [of the department of education] but we have been warned not to comment on this matter because it's personal and has nothing to do with her professional life," said Chili.
Mbokazi's family refused to comment.