Missing cousins: Police to investigate abuse claims

Police will investigate claims that two 11-year-old cousins from Orange Farm, who had been missing since September 6, ran away from home because they were being abused.

Mbali and Thando* were taken to a place of safety today after being interviewed by a social worker at the Orange Farm police station south of Johannesburg.

Earlier today, they were handed over to the police by Jabulani Vilakazi and his girlfriend, Nosipho Hlongwane, who had given them a place to stay.

Mbali and Thando apparently ran away from home two weeks ago, citing abuse by a relative (not their parents).

The social worker, Mpho Mphahlele, said the children claimed they were physically abused by the relative.

She said: “The children would be taken to a place of safety and thereafter sent for proper examination at the kids’ clinic to see if they were indeed physically abused.”

She said once this was done she might recommend that their mothers be charged with child neglect.

Police spokesperson Captain Johannes Motsiri said police would investigate the allegations of abuse against the relative.

“She beats us and does not give us food if we don’t wash the dishes. We don’t want to live with her, we want to live with our mothers,” said Thando.

A neighbour, who refused to be named, said the children were treated badly and that they were always locked inside the yard.

The girls’ mothers were relieved to see their children and denied that they had been abused or ill-treated.

“(The relative) does not ill-treat them at all,” said Thando’s mother, Thembelihle*.

» The relative who has been accused of ill-treating the children could not be reached for comment.

*Full names withheld on legal advice.

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