Mmelli Ngcobo was allegedly kidnapped in February after he was accused of stealing a cellphone.
Mmelli Ngcobo was allegedly kidnapped in February after he was accused of stealing a cellphone.

Still no word on whereabouts of missing Newlands teen

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Apr 7, 2021

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DURBAN – In February, Mmelli Ngcobo was accused of stealing a classmate's cellphone. He was then allegedly abducted from outside his school a day later. Now, almost two months later, his family is still seeking answers about their 16-year-old son's whereabouts.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele, said on Wednesday, February 17, Mmeli was accused of taking a cellphone belonging to a classmate at his high school.

She said the pupil did not report the matter to the school principal but rather informed his parents of the alleged theft.

She said the parents came to school and approached Mmeli and demanded that he give back the phone.

A few days later, Mmeli was seen being bundled into a Mercedes-Benz. That was the last time the teen was seen.

Police said a man was arrested in connection with the alleged kidnapping but he has since been released on bail.

The missing person’s poster that has been shared on social media

Mbele said the suspect is due back in court later this month. She did not indicate how much bail was granted or if there was an update on the investigation.

Yesterday, residents staged a protest in Newlands West demanding to know what was happening with the case. The group dispersed after they were addressed by the local police station commander.

The teen's father, Prince Ngcobo, said it was sad that the community had to stage a protest for there to be movement in the case.

DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety and Liaison, Sharon Hoosen, said when crime happens in any area, the community looks up at SAPS to intervene and make them feel safe again, but when crimes against women and children are not treated as a priority, it creates negativity which later leads to protests against SAPS.

"This seems to be a constant issue in various communities who have lost faith in the police who are supposed to serve and protect them," she said.

Hoosen said the family and community of Newlands West deserve answers on whether there is an ongoing investigation into the kidnapping of Mmelli Ngcobo.

"It has been more than a month now and this matter remains unresolved. I will be addressing this case with the acting Provincial Commissioner in order to ensure that this matter is being fast-tracked so that the family are able to receive some update from SAPS," she said.

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