A Bulawayo woman has been convicted of neglecting her infant whom she left in the care of a stranger while she went to entertain her boyfriend at a city lodge.
The court heard that Ayanda Sibanda (22) from Nkulumane 5 suburb met Florence Tatani (55) of Lobengula suburb at the intersection of Fort Street and 4th Avenue in the city centre on Friday last week and asked her to mind her 11-month-old baby under a false pretence that she wanted to use the toilet.
Tatani only realised that something was amiss when Sibanda did not turn up after three hours and she took the baby to the Bulawayo Central Police station.
The following day, Sibanda allegedly went to the same police station to report that her baby had gone missing.
She was immediately arrested and appeared in court, Monday, charged with ill-treating or neglecting children or young people.
Bulawayo magistrate Franklin Mkhwananzi remanded Sibanda out of custody to Tuesday for sentence.
In mitigation, Sibanda pleaded for the court’s mercy citing she meant no harm in leaving her child with a stranger.
“I’m sorry Your Worship. My boyfriend had asked me to join him at a nearby lodge. I thought I would return early and take my baby. It was not my intention to be gone that long,” pleaded Sibanda.
State representative, Mufaro Mageza told the court Tatani took the baby to the police station three hours after Sibanda`s “disappearance”.
“On May 3 Sibanda at 5:30 pm along Fort Street and 6th Ave approached Tatani with her 11-month-old baby on the pretext that she wanted to use the toilet and would be back for the child later,” said Mageza.
“The complainant remained with the baby and Sibanda went but never returned and she later proceeded to the police station to make a report that Sibanda had gone for more than three hours. The accused was arrested following day at midday after she went back looking for her baby.”