A shocking 13 cases of abductions, attempted abductions and sexual assault incidences have been confirmed involving school pupils since the beginning of August. These reports stretch across various communities throughout the Cape and have also filtered into the Eastern Cape.
A student from Modderdam High School in Bonteheuwel was nearly abducted as she made her way to school last Friday morning. And a primary school learner was also saved from an attempted abduction in Kensington last Friday. A stranger attempted to lure the student into his car, but these attempts were foiled by a vigilant community member, who then intervened.
Other attempts include a man posing as a promoter from a large local retail store abducting an 8-year-old girl on 25 August, as well as a 15-year-old girl who was forced into a vehicle and sexually assaulted as the perpetrators drove around with her for hours on end. This incident occurred on 23 August.
Jessica Shelver, spokesperson for Western Cape Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said they are seriously concerned about these incidents.
“The WCED is currently trying to determine whether these cases are isolated incidents, or form part of a trend,” Jessica Shelver told CapeTalk. “This is what we are trying to establish – we have requested a meeting with the SAPS, and it is imperative for us to know whether there is a link in any way.”
Shelver added that although the safety of students beyond school gates is not within the department’s jurisdiction, it is a great cause for concern as it falls within the mandate of the South African Police Services (SAPS).
“This is obviously of great concern to us, as safety outside the school gates is simply beyond our control and will remain SAPS’ mandate. We can run advocacy campaigns and issue letters to parents. Our biggest concern is that the SAPS are severely under-resourced, but the SAPS that they do have do an outstanding job. We commend them.”
Schäfer has been attempting to arrange a meeting with SAPS, but has been unsuccessful thus far.
“We’re trying our best to do everything possible to protect our children. The Premier has also expressed concern that she would like to find out whether the incidents are linked,” Shelver said. “We learned that four learners were abducted in the Eastern Cape on Monday and that they’re being traffic – not just outside of Port Elizabeth – and this is of great concern to us.”
Premier of the Eastern Cape, Phumulo Masualle, has advised parents in the province to be on high alert following the abduction of four children on Monday.
Police are also conducting an investigation into a child-trafficking case – children were found being trafficked in a truck near Nanaga, en-route to Port Elizabeth, recently.