Forensic detectives at the scene where the remains of the two young girls were found. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA)
DURBAN – IN South Africa, when young children go missing, they are often found dead and beaten and buried in shallow graves, dumped in bins or flowing rivers.
The latest to suffer the fate could be Sydenham nine-year-old pupil Miguel Louw, who went missing in July after being allegedly kidnapped. He was last seen at a KFC in Sydenham with the kidnapping and theft accused Mohammed Vahed Ebrahim, a man who is known to the Louw family.
It is not at this stage officially confirmed if the body discovered in Phoenix was that of Miguel’s, but some of the pupils relatives have resigned themselves to the fact, after a jacket which appeared to be the same type as his was found at the shallow grave he was buried in. The DNA results and post mortem are expected to be conducted on Wednesday.
Africa Check reported in 2016 that a child went missing every 9 hours in South Africa, based on figures from the South African Police. In 2016, 996 children were reported missing, according to Colonel Fanie van Deventer, from the police’s Bureau for Missing Persons’.
We look back at some cases involving missing children in recent times.
In February this year, the 13-year-old Gabisile and her 15-month-old brother Nkosikhona Welcome Ngwenya, were both found murdered in bushes in Cullinan, Pretoria and in the Zaalkap River.
The Citizen reported that the children had been kidnapped after suspects broke into their home in January. A 32-year-old man was arrested.
In November last year, Njabulo Mankayi and his friend Luyanda Msomi went missing after school and were discovered murdered days later. The Clairwood Boys Primary pupils had been last seen boarding a bus.
At the time, The Mercury reported that Njabulo’s body had been found at Grunter’s Gulley in the Durban Harbour, a week after the body had gone missing, while Luyanda had been found days after the search commenced in dense bush in Montclair.
Two people were arrested and charged with murder, kidnapping and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Njabulo’s father’s ex-girlfriend, Amahle Bongiwe Maliwa, was among the accused. The married father had told the Daily News at the time that he had been in an affair for about three years with the woman before their relationship broke down a month before the kidnapping.
He used to pay the woman R1000 monthly but owing to financial reasons, he could not pay her and she threatened to hurt him, he alleged.
The case is still before the courts.
NONKULULEKO MPANZA, 8
In May this year, eight-year-old Nonkululeko Mpanza went missing from her Katlehong home, in Ekurhuleni. The little girl was found butchered a day later, along with her friend, 9-year-old Nompumelelo Mhlongo.
The Star reported the children had been hacked to pieces, with their remains stuffed into a bag and dumped in the township on a piece of land, where there had been no lights for the past three months at the time.
LIKE Gabisile and Nkosikhona Welcome Ngwenya, Njabulo Mankayi and Nonkululeko Mpanza. These are some of the names of young kids who have gone missing and were found dead days, weeks or months later.
On Monday, police discovered a body they believe could be that of Miguel, in Phoenix, but the identity of the body will only be confirmed after DNA analysis on Wednesday. A murder docket has since been open.
Mohammed Vahed Ebrahim, who has not been charged with murder, was granted R2500 bail by the Durban Magistrates Court last week, where he does face kidnapping and theft charges.
Police discovered the body of the yet unknown child a few metres away from the kidnapping and theft accused Ebrahim, who remains behind bars as he did not have money for bail.
Police are expected to announce on Wednesday if indeed Miguel, like Gabisile, Nkosikhona, Njabulo, Luyanda, Nonkululeko and Nompumelelo, went missing, and was recovered dead, days, weeks or months later.