Lost city girl found, toddler still missing

2008-08-05 00:00

AN eight-year-old girl living with disabilities, Tasha Taina Pailman, who went missing from her Pietermaritzburg home on Friday, has been found safe.

But there is still no trace of Sanele Mbanjwa (3), now missing for two weeks.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said Tasha was found unharmed at a place of safety in Havelock Road on Monday. She said officials there saw her story in The Witness on Monday and contacted the police.

Tasha lives with her grandmother in Chapel Street. She disappeared after being dropped at home after school on Friday.

“It seems that she was found wandering on the street and taken to a place of safety together with street kids,” said Jeevan.

Attempts to get a comment from Tasha’s family were unsuccessful.

Jeevan said attempts to find Sanele, missing from Otto’s Bluff since July 24, have been fruitless.

Hi aunt, Zanele, said the family is fast losing hope of finding him. She said the family has fallen prey to an extortionist traditional healer, who demanded R900 for the promise that Sanele would return on his own. After a fruitless wait, the family returned to the healer.

“On Sunday, he told us that the child had gone far away, and wherever he is, he is alive but surrounded by a big snake.

“He said it would cost us R1 800 for him to kill the snake and rescue the child. We paid the money, but till today the child has not returned,” explained Zanele.

Zanele’s family do not believe in traditional healers, but friends and neighbours nagged them to consult one. “I think we are becoming victims of a person who is using our situation to get money from us,” she said.

bhans@witness.co.za

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