‘A child goes missing every 6 hours in SA’

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IOL PN_pn missronewa SUPPLIED Ronewa Matshinyatsimbi

Pretoria - More than 900 children who have gone missing since 1994 have not been found.

Missing Children SA says a child goes missing every six hours. This adds up to 1 460 children a year.

Missing Children SA’s statistics show that more than 87 percent of them are found within the first week. But this still leaves at least 13 percent of the children not being located.

Statistics from Missing Children SA also show that 326 children went missing between December 1, 2012, and November 30 last year.

Of these, 276 were found.

Gauteng (155) and the Western Cape (103) had the highest number of reported missing cases.

A recent case that has gripped the country is that of 18-month-old Ronewa Matshinyatsimbi.

The toddler went missing from her family home at the Dunnottar military base in Nigel.

She vanished after she had spent the night with a nanny her mother’s boyfriend, Themba Masinga, had fired on New Year’s Eve.

Her mother, Neo Nkoane, was on a six-month deployment to Sudan. Masinga was supposed to care for Ronewa, her 4-year-old brother and his own 6-year-old son.

He has since been arrested for perjury and kidnapping.

The military base’s security cameras, which could have shed light on who took Ronewa, were not working.

Neo, who had custody of the 6-year-old boy, has since given the child to Social Services to return to his biological mother.

Police spokesman Colonel Katlego Mogale said they still hoped to find the little girl alive.

An identikit of the nanny has been compiled and Mogale said police had distributed it.

“The nanny is still being sought. The man was arrested because there were discrepancies on who called who, and when.

“We’ve not yet established a relationship between him and the nanny.

“We are still investigating whether he called her randomly or if they knew each other,” she said.

Ronewa’s uncle, Tumi, said his sister was getting worse as each day passed without word on her child’s whereabouts.

“She does not know what to do. The minister (of defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) visited the family on Friday. That made her feel better. But the next day, reality struck again and she got worse.

“The minister promised her support from the department and said she must not worry about work for now,” Tumi said.

At his last court appearance, Masinga, 29, opted to not apply for bail. He is due to be back in the Nigel Magistrate’s Court on February 13.

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Pretoria News

Missing Children tips for parents:

* There is no waiting period for reporting a missing person to the police

* When reporting a case of a missing person, have their:

full names;

age;

description – eye colour, hair colour/style, weight, height, distinctive marks like scars or birthmarks;

where the person was last seen and what the person was wearing.


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