Missing child found by dedicated police officer

2013-07-02 00:00

A POLICE officer’s dedication to his job ensured that a frantic mother was re­united with her son, who went missing on Sunday.

Oribi resident Bongiwe Xaba told The Witness they believed Smangaliso Kunene (7), her neighbour’s child, had walked out of the home through an open gate.

She said when the family realised that Smangaliso was missing, frantic calls went out to neighbours and to Alexandra police station.

“The officers never attended to the scene and when we decided to go to the police station ourselves, we found that despite having reported the matter several times, they had not registered a report,” said Xaba.

While there, they learnt that Smangaliso had been found and brought to the same police station prior to their arrival. However, the officers at the station denied any knowledge of the child.

Smangaliso had been found near the highway by a Merrivale woman, and was taken to the police station.

“It turned out that the woman has a sister who lives in Oribi, who was aware of the missing child and that emerged during their conversation.” A picture confirmed that the child taken to the police station was Smangaliso, said Xaba.

However, officers at the station said they were unaware of any child brought there. Smangaliso’s mother, Nokuphiwa Kunene, said she was appalled by their poor treatment at the hands of the officers.

“They simply did not care … the child was left in their care and they lost him, and when we enquired they simply could not care less.”

Fortunately for her, Sergeant M.F. Ibrahim of the Pietermaritzburg dog unit happened to be at Alexandra police station and saw Kunene and her friends leaving the station dejected. On enquiring, he learned of the missing Smangaliso and immediately went off to search for him. About an hour later, when night had already fallen, he spotted the child wandering in the city centre and Kunene’s ordeal ended.

“That officer deserves a medal. Had it not been for him, we never would have found my child,” she said.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said the station would need time to investigate the matter.

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