Investigator Michael Barkhuizen

Yesterday, Investigating Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Barkhuizen, took the stand as the state’s last witness in the Zephany Nurse kidnapping trial.

His testimony centred around statistics on missing and kidnapped children in the Western Cape since 1997.

He told the court from 1997 to 2016, a total of 155 children went missing and 148 have since been found, including Zephany.

Seven kids remain missing.

He added that since 1997, the Western Cape has had six incidents where children were stolen from hospitals.

These include, Tygerberg, Mitchells Plain, Groote Schuur, Hottentots Holland and at Worcester Hospital.

In a case that happened on January 1, 2015, a 12-day-old baby boy was kidnapped from his cot next to his mother’s bed at Groote Schuur Hospital.

A cleaner, Ntobekhaya Mgqaza, was arrested at her home in Khayelitsha the next day.

Mgqaza was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to five years behind bars, with two years conditionally suspended for five years.

Barkhuizen says as a result, stricter security measures have been put in place at the hospitals.

Last on the stand was probation officer, Yumna Rinquest, who was called at the request of the defence, which questioned her report.

Advocate Reaz Khan accused Rinquest of not properly taking into consideration the accused’s background, medical history and the fact that she was a first time offender.

Rinquest recommended that it was in the interest of the victims that the accused face direct imprisonment.

The matter resumes on August 11.