Be extra vigilant and protect children

2018-02-01 06:00


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SAPS in Tongaat and Verulam are sending a message to the parents of the newbies in schools to be careful as many children are missing. This comes after a Grade R child went missing in Verulam on her first day attending school last week.

According to reports, the five-year-old child mistakenly boarded a wrong taxi going to another area, where she was dropped off at the informal settlements near Redcliffe. A search was conducted and officers from Reaction Unit South Africa located the child in Redcliffe.

SAPS Tongaat spokesperson Captain Patrick Ngwane said: “At this time of the year it is crucial for parents to be vigilant and ensure that their children are safe.

We heard about cases where children go missing after attending school for the first day. My suggestion is that all children attending school for the first time should have wristbands with the parents or guardian’s contact numbers written on it.”

Ngwane said SAPS embarked on a project aimed at encouraging parents to put wristbands on children last year when visiting beaches.

“The aim of the project was to reduce the number of missing children. As SAPS we feel that projects of this nature can carry on and flourish to the schools too,” Ngwane said.

Police spokesperson in Verulam Captain Henry Kisten advised parents to always have contact numbers of the drivers transporting their children to school.

Social Work manager at Tongaat Child and Family Welfare Society Jo Moodley advised parents to explain to their children.

“Parents must explain to them the dangers that they are faced with daily, that is the threat of them being kidnapped or raped if picked up by the wrong individuals. “Parents also need to be vigilant and ensure that they impress upon their chosen transport the importance of fetching their child from school at the right time so as to ensure that the child does not linger around alone or wander off.”

Moodley also advised parents and guardians to call their aftercare or home to check if the child has arrived safely.

“We are living in a very unsafe world and parents need to make every effort to ensure that their children do not fall prey to predators that may lurk amongst our communities,” Moodley said.

In another story, a five-year-old boy was reported missing in Umzinto, south of Durban last week. The Grade R pupil from Mhlangamkhulu Primary was last seen waiting for transport in the afternoon outside the school. Another 10-year-old child was reported missing from Folweni, south of Durban last week.

According to the Missing Children South Africa report, ‘a child goes missing every five hours in South Africa’. The report stated that about 1.2 million children are being trafficked every year.

National case officer for Missing Children South Africa Bianca van Aswegen told the Weekly: “Parents should not wait for 24 hours to report a missing child. People are still under the impression that you have to report a missing person after 24 hours, which does not exist anymore.”

To report a missing child call, the police on 10111 or Missing Child South Africa on 072 6477464.

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