Durban - Two weeks after six-year-old Asanda Mkhize went missing after school in Clermont in Durban, her dismembered body was found at Bronze Beach in uMhlanga on Tuesday.
The Grade 1 pupil was last seen by her teacher leaving her classroom at Tshelihle Primary School in Clermont on May 17.
The family and members of the community began searching for the child and handed out posters in the community as well as shared posters on social media.
Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Nqobile Gwala said the body of the victim was identified this week at the mortuary.
“It is alleged that on 23 May 2022 at 16:50, an unknown body of a child was found floating at uMhlanga Bronze Beach,” she said.
Gwala said the circumstances of her death were being investigated by the Durban North SAPS.
“The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated,” she said.
Distraught grandmother Mbali Mkhize said the family are not coping well because parts of Asanda’s body were not found.
“Her mother is not doing well because she didn't get to see her child,” she said.
Mkhize said she was accompanied by her sister to identify the body.
She raised concern that the police did not take a trained social worker to interview the child who was walking home with Asanda on the day she went missing.
“The child is six years old and knows what happened but was just speaking too many stories at the same time so we couldn’t understand,” said Mkhize.
According to Mkhize, her 25-year-old daughter always collected Asanda from school or met her halfway.
On the day Asanda went missing, she said her daughter was 15 minutes late to fetch her and the other children did not see what happened.
“We do not know what happened,” she said.
Mkhize described Asanda as a happy child who often stayed at home.
“She would play with everyone, always smiling, she was not a child to go out and visit people. When she came home from school she stayed at the house and watched TV and played around the house and not in the streets,” she said.
She added that a lot of people came forward and assisted with the search after Asanda went missing but it was the Durban North police who found her body.
Clermont field worker Mandla Sithole, who works under MP Cyril Xaba, had been involved in the search for Asanda since she went missing.
Sithole said Asanda’s lower limbs and part of her arm had not been found but it was not clear what had happened to her.
“They were removed but I don’t know by what, we are still waiting for the police investigation,” he said.
He hopes that the police investigation will reveal what happened to the child.
Sithole said the family are taking Asanda’s death very hard because of what they went through during the search.
He added that while it was always traumatic to lose a child, “it is something else” to lose a child in this horrible manner.
He urged the community to always know exactly where their child or children are at all times.
“They have to accompany them to school and fetch them from school because that’s the only way for now to protect their children.”
He added that kidnappings and murders were becoming more prevalent.
“It’s clear that there are people taking advantage of our women and children. I think we need to intensify and do a lot of programmes to educate people and make them aware,” said Sithole.