Cape Town - The two Belhar boys who went missing last weekend were found by police at a youth centre in Salt River on Friday.
Police launched a citywide search for Junaid Baker, 10, and Justin Lee Jacobs, 12, after the pair went missing on Saturday afternoon two weeks ago.
It was initially suspected that the pair had followed a Klopse troop from Belhar to Cape Town to view the Tweede Nuwe Jaar parade in the city centre. Police have, however, now established that the boys had gone to Bellville to beg and then got on a train to Cape Town.
Dessie Rechner, of the Pink Ladies organisation, which was involved in the search, said the boys had a history of being “street smart”, that they were capable of looking after themselves on the street and that they were not being held against their will.
Junaid’s grandmother, Bahia Lubbe, said that the children were unharmed when they returned home.
Police in Cape Town had picked the boys up and handed them over to staff at a centre for street children.
Here, they apparently lied to the staff, saying that they were homeless orphans.
“For us this is a case simply of boys being naughty,” said Warrant Officer Renier Coetzee, who led the search.
“It was a very difficult week, and all of us who were involved with the search are immensely relieved that the boys were unharmed.
“They are both schoolgoing and seem quite intelligent. They will return to class with the start of the new school year.”