File photo: SAPS Twitter

Pretoria - Two children who were reported missing on Thursday night have been found unharmed at Pretoria's infamous Tambotie flats by a search party made up of police officers from the Sunnyside police station, detectives, the police crime intelligence unit, and the local family violence, child protection, and sexual offences unit, Gauteng police said on Sunday.

"Led by the head of visible policing Colonel Nishan Moodley, the search party reacted swiftly after the children were reported by their father as missing on Thursday night," Captain Daniel Mavimbela said.

"A chill went down the spine of the local police service when reports emerged by Friday morning that the children could be held at the Tambotie block," said Mavimbela.

"A meticulous investigation led to the children being found unharmed. Later it emerged that the father had told the children to meet him at a local fast food outlet, but upon not finding him as agreed, the children proceeded to a family friend at Tambotie where they had hoped to get a meal."

Mavimbela said that the following day the friend at Tambotie "overslept" and could not take the children, aged five and 10, to their school.

Police warned parents and guardians to exercise caution and rather fetch their children directly from school than expect the minors to negotiate their way through overcrowded streets, characteristic of the Sunnyside area.

"Failure to take reasonable precautions could result in parents facing charges of child neglect and subsequently lose custody [of the children].

"Members of the public are also advised to reject with contempt suggestions from any person who attempts to mislead them into believing that a search for a missing person can only be initiated a day after the person's disappearance. It is nothing but a myth," said Mavimbela.

African News Agency (ANA)