‘Keep a close eye on your kids’

2010-03-27 00:00

THE Durban woman whose daughter was nearly kidnapped right before her eyes at the Gateway Theatre of Shopping early this month says the incident has made her more resolute about watching her kids herself.

The woman was addressing the media at a Durban hotel. She wanted to remain anonymous, but felt it was her duty to get the facts of her harrowing experience out in the open.

“The object of this press conference is an attempt to try and save another family from experiencing what we have recently experienced and to highlight the real fact about how easy it is for child traffickers to prey on our children,” said the mother.

Like most parents, she said, she never thought it would happen to her. Now her advice is: “Do not take your eyes off your children when visiting public areas.”

She warned that this type of situation happens “in the blink of an eye”, and in her experience, 12 seconds is all it took to nearly lose her baby forever.

“I was the lucky one. Do not lead yourself into a sense of believing that public areas are a place in which your children are safe to run around without your personal supervision.”

This mother of two, whose son is five and daughter two-and-a-half (and not the other way round as previously reported), was out for supper with her family on March 5.

They first went to Edgars and then to dinner at Cal Cachious in the Palm Court. The table they were offered had an obstructed view of where their children would be playing, and as they waited for it to be moved, the siblings ran off to see the fish in the fish pond close by.

She said a couple tried to kidnap her little girl while she stood about two metres from her. After viewing the CCTV footage of the incident, the woman believes they had been following them.

Police were alerted to the incident almost two weeks later when Gateway finally invited the woman, at her request, to view the CCTV footage, she claimed.

She said the security management originally denied the incident, and it appears that centre management was only alerted six days after the incident, though she had called three times before this.

“Report everything and anything immediately,” advised the mother, who said she made a mistake by reporting the incident a day later.

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