Father of murdered child says police didn’t do enough

2008-03-10 00:00

SAPS probing father’s claims

Allegations by the father of slain nine-year-old Howick girl Nombuso Nhlangulela, that police failed to respond timeously to her reported disappearance, are under investigation by the SA Police Services.

Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram told The Witness at the weekend that the matter is being taken seriously and said either criminal or departmental action may be instituted if found to be justified.

He said that internal police procedures to deal with the complaint have already been put in motion. These involve taking statements from the police who dealt with the matter and from the father of the victim, Themba Nhlangulela.

He said Nhlangulela will be interviewed by a commissioned officer to ensure the inquiry is independent and thorough.

At this stage, police are not able to release the findings of a postmortem report on Nombuso’s body, as this forms part of the evidence, he said when asked if it has been established when she died and whether her life could have been saved by a quicker response by police.

Nombuso’s body was found tied with bandages to a tree last Monday, March 3, following her disappearance the previous Thursday.

Her head was covered with a plastic bag and there was evidence of sexual assault.

Themba Nhlangulela told The Witness that he and his family have lost all hope in the police services following his daughter’s death.

He alleged that if the police had acted swiftly when they reported her missing, she may have been found alive.

“Instead of assisting us they told us to go and look for her until we got tired and only then could we bring her picture to them,” he said.

Nhlangulela said that even when they went back to the police station the next day, the police were still not helpful.

“I believe the police had all the resources that would have helped in conducting the search for my child, but they chose not to use them. Sending out their dog unit would have been a great start. They could have called some of the police on radio and asked them to conduct a search, but they didn’t,” he said.

Nhlangulela said that when the child was found, the police informed them that someone had told them that he had seen figures and heard screaming close to where the child was found.

“I want to know what they did when they were first notified of this. I know that it won’t bring my daughter back, but we want to know why they did not help us so that we can possibly move on with our lives and find closure,” he said.

Nhlangulela said that the funeral was a very sad one as no one could contain their pain.

He said people were very disappointed about the way that the police handled the case.

“We as a family are not coping as we still have unanswered questions, but people are there for us. We ended up having to spend a lot of money on sangomas out of desperation because the police would not help us, so it is only fair that they tell us why,” he said.

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