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Kimberley - The Northern Cape police will investigate why a missing person’s report was never compiled after two young girls went missing from their homes in Modderrivier.
Their lifeless bodies were found in a dam not far from their house at Riet Rivier farm, a day after they disappeared last week.
The farm owner estimated that the dam was filled with water up to three metres deep.
It is suspected that the three-year-old girl fell into the dam and that her sister also drowned when she tried to rescue her.
Residents in Modderrivier are in uproar following their deaths, saying that they searched well into the night for three-year-old Zoleka and six-year-old Vuyelwa, when the police told their parents, Sara and Petrus Nqanda, to wait 12 hours before reporting the matter for police investigation.
The owners of the farm, where the parents of the deceased are employed, said they regarded the children as part of their family.
“We begged the police to send out a team to look for them because we were certain that they were hungry, lost and afraid. No one lifted a finger despite the young lives that were at stake. The officers at the Modderrivier police station said they couldn’t do anything and that we should wait for the other officers to start a new shift,” the farm’s owner said.
“Neighbouring farmers assisted with the search after the girls were reported missing on September 23 at about 7pm. The girls were last seen at about 3pm while under the care of a nanny. We used flashlights and searched everywhere until about 11pm. The search party resumed at 5am the next morning.”
Conrad Pretorius, who works for HP Security in the area, also assisted in the search for the two sisters. He said members of the police’s diving unit in Kimberley stated that they were not at liberty to assist unless they had received the necessary instructions to do so.
“They requested their commander to be deployed to the scene on September 24. The girl’s parents never slept during the night as they continued with their tireless efforts to find their children.”
He added that farmers in the area made use of their services such as stock theft and security as they were not receiving much support from the police.
Sara stated that her girls were inseparable.
“I saw them going out to play, a short distance from the house. I was still working and went to go and look for them after I had finished my work at about 4pm. My daughters were still so small and were not able to swim. We are heartbroken and we have not been able to sleep or eat since their deaths.”
She said Vuyelwa was in Grade 1 at Kelemogile Primary School.
Petrus added that he had always advised his girls not to get to close to the water.
The couple has another child, one-year-old son, Mzwandile.
The funeral will take place next weekend in Edenburg in the Free State.
Northern Cape police spokesman, Lieutenant Donald Mdhluli, on Sunday said that the police had an obligation to open a missing person’s report as soon as a child was reported missing.
“The matter must receive urgent attention especially when children are little, as it was in this case. The search party must be dispatched immediately. An internal investigation will be launched because there are allegations that the Modderrivier police failed to complete the missing person’s report immediately. Those found responsible will be dealt with according to disciplinary regulations.”
He added that the police’s diving unit as well as the K9 unit retrieved the bodies of the two children from the dam on September 24 (Heritage Day) between 9.30am and 10.30am.
“The police are investigating an inquest following the drownings.”
Mdhluli also issued a warning to parents and guardians to ensure that their children were under adult supervision at all times.
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