Johannesburg - Cuburne van Wyk is epileptic. The 3-year-old was due to for a CAT scan at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital soon. His parents fear for his life. He may die if he does not have his epilepsy medication.
Cuburne was allegedly kidnapped this week near his home, in the informal settlement of Road Reserve, Ramaphosa, in Reiger Park. It was about 4pm on Wednesday when he was playing at a nearby field with his brother and sister.
His father, Elroy Peters, said witnesses saw the alleged suspect, Katleho Phoku, who lives in the neighbourhood, offering the children a biscuit. The two older siblings ran. Cuburne took the biscuit and was taken by the man.
The family is traumatised, the community is enraged. Peters said the community said if Cuburne is not found by this weekend, they will raid every shack in the informal settlement.
“My son hasn’t taken his epilepsy medication since Wednesday, we are worried that he may have a bad fit and die without his medicine. Two months ago he had two epileptic fits in one day,” said Peters.
A teary-eyed Leizell van Wyk, Cuburne’s mother, said the family was praying for their son’s safe return home.
“We hope he comes back alive very soon. He will not survive out there with his condition.”
Van Wyk said her family thanks the community for their prayers, support, and care and for thinking about Cuburne. “Many neighbours have been coming in and out our home asking for the latest news on Cuburne’s whereabouts.”
On Friday, their tiny two-roomed shack accommodated about 15 family members from as far as Pretoria who had arrived to offer their support.
Cuburne was reported missing at the Reiger Park police station at around 7pm on the same day he went missing. The family helped the police search for their son.
Lieutenant Kwenzakwakhe Ngobese said a police unit was deployed to the township and the K9 dog unit also joined the search after a missing persons case was opened.
The police searched until 2am on Thursday morning without success. Ngobese said the following day an informant told the police that the boy was last seen with Katleho Phuku, who is also known as “Chicken”.
They were last seen walking towards Elsburg, a nearby town.
On Thursday afternoon, police found Cuburne’s toy figurine and a blanket in a field not far from his parents’ home. Peters holds the toy close. It is the last thing his son played with before he disappeared. It was his favourite toy. The blanket was taken by police for forensic tests.
“Children will always go missing in this area, we have no electricity and can’t keep them entertained in our homes with simple things like television,” said Nathaniel Mohale, a neighbour to Cuburne’s family.
“It is sad when this sort of thing happens so close to you ... we will raise havoc should Cuburne not be found.”
Cuburne was last seen wearing a blue tracksuit and green takkies.
Anyone with information can call Lieutenant Kwenzakwakhe Ngobese on 0736704646 or their nearest police station.