Search for men after pupils claim they were followed on way to school

A case of attempted kidnapping is being investigated after two 15-year-old girls from Rylands High School reported being followed by two men while walking to school.

Police are investigating a case of attempted kidnapping after two teenage girls from Bonteheuwel reported being followed by two men while walking to school.

According to Gatesville Neighbourhood Watch chairwoman Fowzia Veerasamy, the 15-year-old cousins took a taxi from their homes to Rylands High School at 7am, on Monday September 28, but when they climbed out of the taxi in Klipfontein Road, they saw two men getting out of cars on the opposite side of the road.

The girls grew suspicious when the men followed them and one of the men winked at them. The teens approached a coffee seller in Gatesville CBD for help. He called their school and then went looking for the men but couldn’t find them.

Ms Veersamy said the school’s safety manager had alerted the neighbourhood watch.

“Immediately, we went to the Gatesville CBD to check the scene. We walked the area flat until after 9am but found no suspicious vehicles. We returned to school, and then only it hit the girls and they became distraught and one of them fainted.”

The girls had been counselled and had laid charges at Athlone police station, she said.

Western Cape Education Department spokeswoman Bronagh Hammond said pupils picked up at school by parents or caregivers should stay on the premises until they had identified their transport.

Pupils relying on public transport should travel in groups at all times to departure areas and pupils should be alerted to “stranger danger”, she said.

“While we do not want to frighten them, they must know that they should be wary and run away if any stranger approaches them. They should also not accept any free food, drinks, money or objects from strangers and should report any suspicious characters to an educator or administrator at the school as soon as possible.”

Athlone police spokeswoman Sergeant Zita Norman said they were investigating an attempted kidnapping.

The girls, she said, had told police that one of the men had worn black silk pants with a black hoody while they other had worn blue overall pants with lime stripes and a grey jersey with a royal-blue cap.

Anyone with information, can call Athlone police at 021 697 9214.