A woman allegedly pretended to be an employee of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) who was going to help a young mother apply for a grant, before kidnapping her 4-month-old baby boy.

She was arrested with a man who is believed to have been an accomplice in the kidnapping of the infant and both were found in different parts of the North West.

Adalia Ncebeshe, 31, was nabbed in Rustenburg with the baby while the accomplice, Hendrik Kokoene, 49, was found in Ikageng, Potchefstroom. The baby was found unharmed and has been returned to his mother.

According to police spokesperson, Colonel Adéle Myburgh of the North West police, allegations are the 20-year old woman was with her baby when she met Ncebeshe at a grocery store in Ventersdorp on November 3.

Ncebeshe is said to have told the mother she was from Sassa and then offered to help her obtain a child support grant. The next day, Ncebeshe allegedly went to the mother’s house to fetch her.

“The mother, her baby and Ncebeshe boarded a taxi from Ventersdorp to Potchefstroom. When they arrived at a taxi rank in Potchefstroom, all three of them got into a red Toyota Tazz that was waiting for them and driven by the other suspect, Kokoene”.

“They drove around in Potchefstroom and stopped at a café, close to Potchefstroom Hospital and asked the mother if she wanted to buy something to eat”.

“The mother left her baby in the vehicle and went inside the shop, when she exited the shop, the Red Toyota Tazz and the occupants, including her four-month-old baby were gone”.

The mother informed the police and the matter was handed to the Potchefstroom Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit.

Myburg said that the next day, Kokoene was traced and found in Ikageng.

Further investigations led them to Ncebeshe, who was found with the baby in Rustenburg. The suspects were arrested and the baby boy was handed back to his mother, unharmed.

Ncebeshe and Kokoene were arrested and charged with kidnapping. They appeared in the Potchefstroom Magistrate’s Court on Monday and their matter was postponed to next week for a bail application.

Myburg said there was no one else with Ncebeshe and the baby at the time of her arrest. She also said the relationship between her and Kokoene had not been established and the motive for kidnapping the child was not yet known.

North West Police Commissoner Lieutenant General Sello Kwena congratulated the investigation team for “a job done well”.

Kwena said police would continue to work hard to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable, women and children and bring the perpetrators to book.