Durban - A Durban couple had been frantic with worry after hijackers sped off with their 2-year-old son on Thursday night. A child, thought to be Emmanuel Khoza, was found late on Friday morning.
Police said he was found at KwaMashu Men’s Hostel and was being fed. Emmanuel’s parents were on their way to identify the child by time of publication.
His mother, Precious Manda, on Thursday night had managed to grab Emmanuel’s 6-month-old baby sister and escape during the hijacking in Cato Manor.
A police tracking team had been combing several townships in Durban - uMlazi, KwaMashu, Inanda and Claremont - in the hope of finding Emmanuel.
Provincial police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said they had also been monitoring CCTV cameras in the city and surrounding areas since 8pm on Thursday night.
The bakkie did not have a tracking device.
Earlier on Friday morning, Manda said they had been returning from her parents’ home in Lamontville at about 8pm.
“We were about to reach our place at KwaMasxha (near Bonella) when my fiancé (Elias Khoza) stopped at a tavern to chat to a friend.”
Manda, 23, and her two children were left in the car with the young Emanuel sitting in the driver’s seat playing with the steering wheel.
“I was sitting behind the driver’s seat (in the white Isuzu double-cab bakkie) when all of a sudden three men appeared out of nowhere.”
One of the men jumped into the driver’s seat and another one into the front passenger seat while the third one jumped into the back seat with Manda.
She described the hijackers as young men in their mid-twenties, saying one of them had a scar across his face.
“The one who jumped into the driver’s seat, the one with the scar, then grabbed Emmanuel and passed him on to his accomplice in the passenger seat next to him. At that moment I thought that these were my husband’s friends as one of the hijacker’s was wearing a blue jacket just like the jacket worn by the friend my husband had gone to chat to.”
But when the hijacker reversed the car at high speed, Manda realised something was wrong. She then grabbed her baby and jumped out of the moving vehicle.
She was slightly injured in the process.
“My fiancé ran after the car and tried to jump into the back but a shot was fired by one of the hijackers. It grazed his stomach.”
The hijackers sped away with Emmanuel still in the car.
The boy’s father was too traumatised to speak on Friday morning.
Manda said she and her fiancé had not slept. “He (the father) went around the area in search of these people but they were not found. I could not sleep.”
The couple said they were hoping the boy had not been harmed in any way. Manda, who had been strong all along, broke down when she heard the news that Emmanuel may have been found.
“Thank you”, was all she could say through her tears.Naicker said: “The community found him there and became suspicious and then took the little boy to the KwaMashu police station where the police are currently feeding him. We will not call off the search for Emmanuel until his parents have verified that this is their son,” said Naicker.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Det W/Officer Yamarasen Govender at 084
Daily News and Sapa