Kidnap concern grows

Dan Plato.

With a spate of child abductions – and claims of kidnappings or near kidnappings spreading like wildfire – parents are being urged to be extra vigilant.

Last Wednesday September 5, a pupil from Modderdam High School in Bonteheuwel was nearly abducted on the corner of Bonteheuwel Avenue and Jakkelsvlei Avenue at 7.45am.

While the was walking in the road she noticed a white Toyota Yaris following her and when the car stopped one of the men inside, asked her for directions.

The girl noticed a white cloth in the man’s hand and a noticeable scar on the left side of his face and didn’t stop walking.

The car stopped and one of the men got out and tried to take her but she ran in the opposite direction and the men sped off.

Bishop Lavis station commander, Brigadier Christopher Jones, said police were investigating the matter and urged parents to prioritise their children’s safety.

“We are speaking with other stakeholders about possible links and similarities. Parents need to remain alert and look after their children,” he said.

On Friday September 7, Vanguard Primary School pupils ran for safety after noticing two men taking pictures of them.

Principal Howard February said the four pupils involved had been on their way to school when the incident occurred. The boy, in Grade 4, ran to school while the girls, in grades 2, 6, and 7, ran to a nearby doctor’s surgery.

“Some community members brought them to school and we contacted Safe Schools, police, and the neighbourhood watch. The pupils were quite shaken and we contacted their parents.

“We urge parents to please collect their children on time. We dismissed at 12 today (Friday) but at 3pm there are still children here,” he said.

Community Safety MEC, Dan Plato, said he remained concerned about the recent incidents, attempts and allegations of attempted kidnappings.

“I note that the police have communicated to the public in this regard and have appealed for social media users to act responsibly with regards to verifying of information.

“The safety of children in the province is of utmost importance. That is why the Western Cape Government, myself and Education “(MEC) Debbie Schäfer, have already met with the police in this regard and our channels of communication between us remain open.

“I urge the public to report all incidents or suspicious behaviour affecting our children to the police immediately,” he said.

He also urged parents, teachers and residents around schools to remain vigilant about safety.

“I applaud our dedicated safety volunteers such as neighbourhood watch and Walking Bus members for their continued efforts and assistance in helping to create safer environments, especially as this relates to our children.

“Both my office and (Ms) Schäfer’s office are receiving requests for more Walking Buses to be formed and I will be launching more through September and October in our combined efforts to improve safety.”

AthloneNewspreviously reported that, on Wednesday August 15, a Grade 4 pupil was nearly kidnapped at Habibia Primary School (“Watch out for child snatchers”, Athlone News, August 29) while the girl was waiting for her father to fetch her from school.

Three men grabbed her and tried to push her into their car but they let her go when she kept screaming.

Her father arrived and reported the incident at Athlone police station.

Also last month, two girls were also allegedly nearly abducted in the Zonnebloem area where pupils were reportedly being targeted while travelling to and from school.

Other incidents reported around the city include an incident involving a primary school child who was allegedly almost abducted in Kensington about a week ago.

In recent weeks an 8-year-old girl was abducted in Goodwood but later returned to her family and a Grade 9 pupil on her way to school in the Steenberg area
wasabductedandsexually assaulted.

Kraaifontein schoolgirl Previledge Mabvongwe, 9, was found dead two weeks ago after having gone missing near her home, and on the same day, the body of 2-year-old Oyingcwele Zokufa, who had gone missing on Sunday August 26, was dug up from a
shallow grave near the N2, in Philippi.