The 42-year-old man appeared in court after a manhunt, with police arresting him for the abduction of the boys from the Thembalethu informal settlement.
The incident occurred on Saturday, June 11, when the suspect allegedly took the boys from his scrapyard to bushes near Ballots Bay Gate and tied them to a tree before pouring paraffin over them and setting one alight.
“The suspect has been charged with abduction and attempted murder. He appeared in court last week and was issued bail of R1000. In his statement he said the boys had stolen a ring from him. He found the one boy, who then took him to the other,” said police spokesperson Dumile Gwavu.
Police who entered the area were met by hostile residents during the start of the investigation and were unable to locate the parents of the two boys, said Gwavu.
“I personally tried to find the parents of the two boys, but the community did not know who they were. Structures in the informal settlement are not all numbered and we are still trying to locate the boys to ensure they are receiving assistance and to find out what their conditions are,” said Gwavu.
Police have also warned the community that anyone taking the law into their own hands would be prosecuted.
There had been instances of mob justice within the community, said Gwavu. He urged the Thembalethu residents to assist police in finding the two boys and provide information to ensure the accused is successfully prosecuted.
Ward Councillor Ntombi James said that she had not received any information regarding the matter from her constituents.
“This is a grave matter and it is frightening to believe police are unable to find the victims after such a traumatic experience. Had the community known of his arrest we would have been at court demanding the courts deny bail to a man capable of doing this children,” said James.
Thembalethu Community Policing chairperson Xolani Henge said he was not in the George region last week but their members would aid police in locating both boys' families.