Mom’s desperate plea Schools tighten security

2015-06-13 09:12
A young boy waits alone outside a Pietermaritzburg school to be fetched.

A young boy waits alone outside a Pietermaritzburg school to be fetched. (Jonathan Burton)

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THE mother of the five-year-old Berg Street Primary pupil who was murdered earlier this year has appealed to the public to help in the search for her daughter’s killer.

Athandiwe Dumakude’s body was found bound, with a stab wound to the neck, in a secluded forest in Woodlands on February 23 this year.

The girl, described as a bright and happy child by her mother and teachers, was abducted from Berg Street Primary on February 23.

Athandiwe had bought sour bubble gum from a woman selling sweets outside the school minutes before she was taken in the early afternoon.

Her mother, Nqobile Mlaba, said she was appealing to the public to help in the investigation of her daughter’s murder.

“I want to know what happened,” she said.

She said she had been following up with police regularly to check the progress of the case but said the investigation was going very slowly.

“In the beginning, we tried to hire a private investigator, but found out he had already been hired by police.

“I am constantly following up with police, but the investigation is going slowly.

“The last time I spoke with them they said they were in the process of transferring the case to another investigating officer and did not have any leads on the case.

“I think they will catch the person who did this to my daughter eventually.”

Mlaba had said the day after her daughter’s body had been found that Athandiwe was a clever and attentive young girl who loved her family, especially her younger brother.

Pietermaritzburg SAPS spokesperson Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese said the investigation was ongoing and the SAPS would not let it become a cold case. “We ask the community to assist police with any information they have on Athandiwe’s murder so we can put the person responsible behind bars and help Athandiwe’s family find closure.”

Should anyone have any information on the little girl’s disappearance and murder, please contact the investigating officer, Constable Malinga at 033 387 9614.

BERG Street Primary has beefed up security after Athandiwe’s death, and schools across Pietermaritzburg would appear to have followed suit.

However, some schools have said some parents and lift clubs do not fetch their children on time, and they are then left waiting long after the school’s stated pick-up time, unattended.

Pietermaritzburg’s Forest Hill Primary School is tight on security, only letting children out the gate when their lift or parent arrives to fetch them.

However, a teacher who would not be named said although the school constantly sent out letters to parents, telling them to fetch their children by 2 pm (teachers leave at that time) some lift clubs and parents would fetch children long after the pick-up time.

“We are constantly monitoring the children and the area around the school for any children who have managed to slip out of the gates without us knowing.

“We are constantly writing letters for parents to adhere to the pick-up time at 2 pm and we keep the children safe to the best of our ability,” she said.

Toybox Creche principal Trevor Sharp said he experienced similar problems with parents not fetching their children on time, and lift clubs not adhering to school rules by waiting outside the school gates and hooting for children instead of driving into the school to pick pupils up.

“I have sent letters to parents, I have gone outside the school to speak to taxi drivers, I have even offered to use the services of a security company to be stationed outside the school, but parents were not willing to pay a small amount extra per month for the guard.”

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