police forensic officers gsther at the scene where two children aged 2 and 3 were found dead in an outside toilet in Diepsloot extension one this morning. picture:Antoine de Ras, 15/10/2013

Johannesburg - National police commissioner Riah Phiyega on Wednesday expressed sadness at the kidnapping and murder of two small girls in Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg.

“I am very sad about what is happening in Diepsloot. We need a South Africa and an environment where our children can play in the street and not be afraid of people,” she said on the sidelines of the Consumer Goods Council of SA conference in Johannesburg.

“I am happy that a few suspects have been picked up and that the police are working around the clock to ensure that those who are responsible are found and brought to book.”

Phiyega said three people were taken in for questioning, but the number could increase. She appealed to Diepsloot residents to not take the law into their own hands and to let the police do their work.

She called on people to contact police with any information about the crime.

“Any information that would help the police identify those ill-doers we would appreciate,” said Phiyega.

The body of a five-year-old girl was found in the same area in September.

On Wednesday, Gauteng police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said police were searching for a fourth person. He said although police suspected that the two girls, two-year-old Yonelisa, and three-year-old Zandile Mali were strangled, they would wait for the post mortem results to confirm how they died.

Dlamini said the area was calm following protests by residents on Tuesday. They blocked roads in the township.

The two little girls were reported missing at the weekend. A resident found their bodies in a toilet cubicle on Tuesday around 5am. A team of detectives has been appointed to investigate the murders, said Dlamini. - Sapa