The schoolgirl accused of kidnapping baby twin Kwahlelwa Tiwane said she was forced to write a confession by a police officer who also told her what to write.
Karabo Tau, 18, testified during her bail hearing in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court that she also gave the police the names of the only two foreign nationals she knew. She said they had a crush on her. She added that she let the police take their names and numbers from her phone after they made the claim that foreign nationals were kidnapping babies.
Her co-accused is Ely Kibunda.
“I don’t know where the child is and I didn’t take the child,” 18-year-old Karabo Tau testified. She wore her school uniform in the dock.
She said she only “confessed” to taking the child after lengthy questioning by at least four police officers. She said they threatened her and said she would never leave jail and never realise her dream of being a lawyer or journalist. Eventually she just wrote what a detective Samsodien told her to write, she testified.
Tau was arrested after Asanda Tiwane, Kwahlelwa’s mother, reported that a woman named Monica disappeared with her child in Parow.
At the time, police issued an alert for the missing two-month-old, saying Tiwane was approached with offers of help by a supposed social worker fitting Tau’s description.
Police said they travelled together from Khayelitsha to Parow to take care of administrative matters related to helping the mother with money and a food voucher. In Parow, Tau allegedly disappeared with the baby.
The court earlier heard from Tiwane that she did not check the “social worker’s” credentials.
Tau replied to all questions put to her in a feisty tone. She insisted she was at school in her isiXhosa class at the time Tiwane said she had visited on January 16.
Claremont High School’s isiXhosa teacher Thokoza Godana said Tau had been in class sitting in the front row at the time.
The school’s IT manager Johan Thompson pointed her out in footage captured by one of the school’s CCTV cameras. He testified that the time stamp was 20 minutes fast, and said Tau was still at school at around 15:00. He said it was not possible to change a time stamp retroactively.
The footage showed Karabo coming through a door and after a peck on the cheek from a friend, the two looked at and swiped on a cellphone screen. Tau said she had come from the bathroom and the two were discussing a new phone.
Her family and supporters shouted “you did nothing wrong” and “they’re going to pay, my baby” at her during a short adjournment.
She smiled into the gallery as pictures were taken of her.
Prosecutor Tobinceba Matrose asked her why she had not shed a single teardrop. Tau replied that she found the whole experience overwhelming and traumatising.
Tau said: “No matter how many tantrums I throw or I cry, you still won’t believe me.”
Her co-accused Kibunda’s bail application will be held separately. Tau said she met him on Facebook and last saw him in November when they bumped into each other in a shopping centre.
Final arguments in her bail application will be heard on February 11 and Tau will remain in custody.
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