Durban - Three young Klaarwater siblings who were missing for a week were reunited with their relieved mother, Thandazile Luthuli, on Monday, after a woman came forward to say she had taken the children in.
Nomusa Nene of Ngonyameni, near uMlazi’s K section, said she had seen the children last Monday, the day they went missing after leaving home for school.
The Luthuli siblings – Mandisa, 12, in Grade 6, Siphiwe, 10, Grade 3, and Manake, 5, in Grade R, had approached her, asking for directions to Ngonyameni, she told the Daily News.
“I wondered why they would ask me for directions there as most local people, including children, know the directions to the place.
“When I had a good look at them I realised how dirty and hungry they were.
“I decided to take them in,” she said.
Nene said she had kept them in her home for a week while trying to locate their family and social workers.
The children told her they had run away from home.
Social workers in Chatsworth had told her to go to eMaweleni but when she went there, she was referred back to Chatsworth.
She alerted the Chatsworth police.
KZN police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, said on Monday: “The children were found… after an old woman… alerted the police after she saw an article in the newspaper.”
The Daily News carried the story of the missing children on Monday.
Zwane said the siblings would be taken to social workers for assessment.
The oldest child, Mandisa, explained what had happened, after she was united with her parents on Monday.
She and her sister, Manake, had left home together and met up with their brother who had used another route to get to their school.
She said they then realised they were lost.
“This woman saw us while we were passing by her house. She asked who we are and what we were doing there and we explained to her what had happened,” said Mandisa.
She said the woman took them inside her house and gave them food and a bath.
The children’s mother was relieved they were found unharmed.
“I thank God. I couldn’t get sleep without my children, knowing they could be out there in the middle of nowhere.”
She said her family had been looking everywhere for the children and had given pictures of them to the police.
“I just thought of all the bad things that we see happening to children on TV.
“I had already had a vision of them lying in the middle of nowhere,” said Luthuli.
She said she had to see a doctor when she could no longer cope with their disappearance.
“I can see they are devastated… I can’t take them to school for now, they need counselling,” she said.