WATCH: Two teens recount how they escaped would-be kidnappers
Police have now appointed a special task team to look into a spate of abductions and near-kidnappings of school children in Cape Town in recent weeks.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato says his office, along with that of Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s, had had a meeting with the police and a “way forward has been forged”.
“A special team of detectives has been assigned to deal with cases such as these,” Plato told Daily Voice on Thursday.
This comes after an incident on Wednesday morning when a 16-year-old girl from Bonteheuwel was almost snatched by two men while she was walking to school.
The girl says she left home at 7.45am and says staying calm when the men approached her probably saved her life.
“I walked onto Bonteheuwel Avenue and a white Toyota Yaris with black tinted windows drove slowly next to me. The driver asked for directions to Mimosa Primary School and I kept walking but gave him directions,” she explains.
“He then told me he had been watching me for a long time and I remembered seeing the car at a shop and they were watching my friend and me.
“I was scared and I became very nervous, but told myself not to get too worked up or panic.
“I was alone on the main road and was afraid if I ran, they would chase me.”
The car slowed down, that’s when she saw a second man in the back.
“He had a white cloth in his hand. This man with the scar on his left cheek was getting out. They were going to take me. I turned and I ran,” she says, trembling.
When she got home, her parents immediately went to the Bonteheuwel Police Station, but say they were turned away.
They then headed to the office of the Ward councillor Angus McKenzie.
“My daughter had been through hell. She needed assistance and nobody but the councillor helped us. He was in a meeting and had a foyer full of people waiting. I am very grateful to him,” says her father.
“I hope parents realise how serious this is. I almost lost my child.”
Her mother says she was to start a new job this week but has decided not to take it anymore.
“I am going to take and fetch my child from school every day. I will never let her walk alone again,” the mom adds.
The family has since laid a charge with police. Police did not respond to queries.
The girl says she’s been having sleepless nights.
“I am still scared. I have not slept at all. Every time I close my eyes I see that man’s face with the scar. I hope they catch them,” says the girl.
McKenzie says there are Walking Bus volunteers and neighbourhood watch members who walk kids to school but urged parents to remain vigilant.
Meanwhile, schools in Mitchells Plain sent out notices on Wednesday after a 10-year-old boy was almost abducted outside Eisleben Road Primary in Rocklands.
The child’s father says his son’s lessons about stranger danger saved him.
“He had gone on a school outing and when they returned, he was exiting the school premises. He said a man approached and called him over,” the dad explains.
“He knows he must not speak to strangers and he immediately backtracked into the school grounds and hid.
“He ran into the bathroom where he stayed for a bit and then he saw the man enter the school.
“He ran to the opposite gate of the school and saw one of the Walking Bus / Neighbourhood Watch ladies. Without even looking, he shouted at her and ran across the road into the safety of her arms,” said the father.
He says his son remembered the make of the car as well as the licence plate number.
“He asked for paper and wrote down the licence plate number. It was a white Toyota. I am very proud of him for remembering.
“He identified the person as a black man.”
Police spokesperson Constable Wesley Twigg confirmed an attempted kidnapping case is being investigated by Mitchells Plain police.
The Western Cape Education Department said four other reports of attempted kidnappings on social media - at Westridge High, Rocklands Primary, West End Primary, and Sea View Primary - were all confirmed to be fake news.
Learners, parents and teachers can phone the Safe Schools Call Centre to report incidents, and get for counselling and advice on 0800 45 46 47.
Plato asked adults who are at home to volunteer with the Walking Bus in their areas.
“[It’s] just [for] an hour in the morning or in the afternoon. You don’t have to have children at the school, you just have to care,” he says.