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A family is desperately searching for their two-year-old son who disappeared in the Mitchells Plain Town Centre on Thursday morning.
Police are scouring footage from CCTV cameras at the Town Centre to try to track down little Tariq Jacobs.
Tariq, of Beacon Valley, was shopping with his mother, Zulpha, on Thursday morning.
“I was standing next to a stall with bags. I told Tariq to stand next to me while I looked at some of the bags and then when I looked down he was gone.
“I started looking for him but I couldn’t find him,” said Zulpha.
She immediately reported her son’s disappearance to the police and she and her family have distributed pamphlets with a picture of Tariq and contact details throughout Beacon Valley.
A pamphlet has been stuck on the wooden gate to the family’s property.
The family spent the entire night at the police station, waiting for news.
Earlier on Thursday, as news of Tariq’s disappearance spread around Beacon Valley, family and friends gathered at the family’s home to support his grandmother.
Friday morning police said they were continuing to study CCTV footage from the Town Centre to try to ascertain what happened to Tariq, and were taking statements.
The Town Centre is bordered by a bustling taxi rank and is close to a police station and the Promenade mall.
Jacobs and Tariq’s father, Walied Jacobs, are separated and the child lives with his mother.
Friday morning, Walied greeted a Cape Argus team at his home but refused to be interviewed.
Tariq’s grandmother, Farieda Jacobs, said her son, who had been called home from his workplace in Tyger Valley, was dumbstruck.
“My husband phoned me to say the child is gone. We went on the search all over Mitchells Plain Town Centre, the taxi rank and the Promenade mall. We started at 11am.”
She said Tariq had been with her at home on Thursday but his mother had collected him.
“A lot of people know Tariq at the rank because my husband is a driver there. He will often say: ‘I want to go to Dada’ (his name for his grandfather) when he is there.”
She said Tariq was very attached to his father and when he arrived at the house, he wouldn’t greet anyone else until he had gone to find his father.
Asked how she felt, Farieda said: “I’m keeping myself strong. I’m very sick about it. He is a bubbly child, active, and when he is here he will stay at home, watch TV and play games. He always sticks with us. I’m outside, he is too.”
She said her grandson was a sweet child who particularly loved cars and watching Barney the Dinosaur on television.
Tariq’s aunt, Tawgheeda Davids, said her nephew could be a bit stubborn and always wanted to decide for himself whether he wanted to do certain activities.
She said she was “sick” about his disappearance.
“You hear all sorts of stories about missing children. People picking children up and killing them, it makes me sick,” she said.
Tawgheeda’s son, Tohier, said they would not give up looking for Tariq.
Every year, about 200 children disappear in the Western Cape.
According to the police, 191 children had been reported missing by Christmas Day this year.
Anyone with information about Tariq should contact the Jacobs family at 021 376 4740, 072 570 99 22 or 072 103 9262, or the investigating officer, Detective Constable Sizile Sindi, at 083 483 506. - Cape Argus