Missing toddler could be at Jika Joe informal settlement

2008-11-10 00:00

There are growing fears that a two-year-old girl from Swayimane, outside Pietermaritzburg, who went missing on October 24, might be exposed to danger at the Jika Joe informal settlement, where she is believed to be.

It is believed that the toddler was seen at Jika Joe on the day of her disappearance, allegedly in the company of her caregiver, whose whereabouts are also unknown.

Thandeka Mkhize (25) last saw her baby, Nothile Ngcobo, at a Howick taxi rank on October 24 at about 1 pm, when her caregiver, Thabisile “Mga” Khoza (20), was supposed to take Nothile back to her father’s home in Swayimane.

The baby lives with her father in Swayimane. Her mother is a nurse at the Mngeni Hospital in Howick, and rents a room nearby.

“On their arrival in Pietermaritzburg, Mga [Khoza] called her boyfriend, arranging to meet him.

But the boyfriend said he waited for Mga to call again to confirm their meeting, which she did not do,” said Mkhize.

After hearing that Khoza and Nothile did not arrive in Swayimane, Mkhize took a taxi to Swayimane to investigate why they did not arrive. A friend of Khoza’s told Mkhize that she and Khoza often visit the Jika Joe area and downtown taverns.

“I took Mga’s friend to Jika Joe where we were told that she was seen with a young child in a tavern,” said Mkhize.

The Witness and Mkhize visited the settlement last Thursday and people said they had seen Khoza at a number of local taverns.

Although Nothile lives with her father’s parents, on October 13 Mkhize took her home to attend a party.

But after the party, Mkhize had a dispute with the baby’s father and decided to take her to Howick. She also took Khoza along to babysit while she was at work.

The child’s father, Mbuso Ngcobo, said he was only told on October 30 that she was missing.

Anyone who might have seen Khoza and Nothile is requested to contact Constable Ngobese of the Mountain Rise police station on 082 517 5944 or Mkhize on 078 611 6740.

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