Johannes Ramaphakela outside the abandoned building where two bodies were found burnt beyond recognition. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannes Ramaphakela outside the abandoned building where two bodies were found burnt beyond recognition. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Atteridgeville children found burnt to death in abandoned building

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Feb 10, 2021

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Pretoria - The community of Atteridgeville has been left reeling after the discovery of two burnt bodies of children, believed to be girls, in an abandoned building in the area.

Community members found the bodies in extension 7. The residents had seen a person going in and out of the building. The person caught the attention of a taxi driver, who alerted others. They then searched the building.

Resident Johannes Ramaphakela, who runs a mechanic workshop next to the abandoned building, alerted police. He said while the community had been plagued by criminals using the many abandoned structures as hideouts, it was the first time they came across dead people.

“I can’t believe someone would do something so cruel to children or anyone for that matter. I could barely look at their bodies lying there. I simply rushed to call the police.”

Buildings left to dilapidate across the area attracted criminals, he said, and in this one in particular, they often found empty purses, bags and underwear.

Ramaphakela said the situation was aggravated by the overgrown bushes around the house and the constant presence of drug users who used the building as their hideout.

“Someone needs to start cleaning up these bushes and demolish unused buildings, because we know that women even end up getting raped at these places. We are scared, which makes it too dangerous to attempt to help anyone.”

He said he was alerted to the scene by a taxi driver, who said a dodgy person had been going in and out of the building that morning.

Another resident who was there when the bodies were found said she had not seen the person said to have been going in and out, but was certain the bodies had not been there long as many children often played there.

“We know that this building is dangerous because of the many things found in there daily, but we have no one to ask to clear up this area. It's just scary that someone can come from the outside and do this to such small children.”

Others said they did not believe the children were local as no one had reported their children missing.

“The bodies were badly burnt. They were not recognisable. We are not sure they are from around,” another said.

Police in Tshwane have appealed to anyone with information that may assist them in their investigation to come forward. Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said local police were alerted by members of the community. She said the bodies were burnt beyond recognition and no one had been able to determine their identities.

“Forensics are still investigating identities, time of death, and will even be confirming that they are indeed female.

“We are appealing to anyone who may have information that could assist in unravelling this case, to urgently contact the Atteridgeville police or call the Crime Stop number to relay information via the MySAPS app that can be downloaded onto any smartphone.”

Pretoria News

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