Missing child mystery persists

2010-02-23 00:00

KZN Welfare gives conflicting statements on allegations that there is a child who is unaccounted for in the fire that killed 11 people, eight of them children, in Newcastle early this month.

The Witness has been informed that one child was missing after the fire that destroyed the Hope in Christ orphanage at Ingogo, near Newcastle.

A source said it is feared that the child might have burnt to ashes in the fire.

However, all those who were involved in removing the bodies and injured could not have seen her is a mystery, said the source.

“We don’t know what steps are taken to solve the mysterious disappearance of the child,” she said.

An employee in the Newcastle child welfare, whose name is known to the newspaper, declined to comment on the matter, referring The Witness to, a senior manager of the department in Ladysmith, who also declined to comment.

Both officials said it is the provincial office of the department that can comment.

Social development spokesman Mandla Ngema contradicted himself yesterday when The Witness contacted him for comment.

“After the incident, just one day before the funeral of the Holland family, we discovered that there was a missing child from the orphanage,” said Ngema in the first interview with The Witness.

He said he would phone back with full details.

When he phoned back he changed his tune, stating that their records do not indicate any missing child from the orphanage.

Asked to explain his initial statement Ngema said the survivors of the fire had claimed that there was another child who they did not see among themselves at the hospital.

“Those who died were burnt beyond recognition so the child in question could be among the dead,” he said, adding that no report has yet been received from the Pretoria police fire investigators.



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