HIGHVELD – Parents are warned to be extra vigilant with their children and to be on the lookout for predators.
This warning stems from three child abduction scares in less than a week.
Ms Neilia Nagel from Evander said her 15-year-old daughter was fortunate to escape from a group of men who tried to snatch her at the bus stop on Friday, 24 August.
The girl, a learner from Hoërskool Oosterland, daily walks to the bus stop about a block away from her home in Evander.
“Usually I walk with her and there are always two other learners from Oosterland and a few others from another school waiting for Megabus to take them to school in the morning. She usually waits about 10 minutes before the bus arrives,” explained Ms Nagel.
She was however, not able to accompany her child that Friday morning, and there were no other children yet at the bus stop.
“As she was waiting there alone on that Friday morning, five men in a gold-coloured vehicle pulled up.”
Ms Nagel’s daughter said the man in the front passenger seat opened his window and began to talk to her in English.
“A man in the back opened his door halfway and it looked as though he wanted to get out.”
The girl immediately felt uneasy about the situation and began to walk to the nearest house on the corner.
“The man in the back eventually slammed shut his door and they sped off.”
The bus arrived two minutes later.
“Parents think their kids are safe when they walk in a group of two or three children, but things can change so suddenly. I am going to buy my daughter a whistle and I am telling everyone to be alert.
“I will make sure I walk her to the bus stop every time. We also now drive around the town often to see if we can spot the car,” said Ms Nagel.
Mr Dhayalan Govender and his wife, Shantal, had a similar scare on Wednesday, 29 August.
The nanny who looks after their two children informed them that afternoon of an elderly white man in a white Renault Clio who tried to lure their nine-year-old son out of their yard.
They live in the area around Generaal de Wet Street opposite the Ridge (Palms) Plaza.
Ms Govender told the newspaper that her son was playing in the yard when the man in the Clio slowly drove past. This happened at about 3.30pm.
“He turned his vehicle around, drove back and stopped on the pavement.
“When my son did not go the man, the man climbed out of his car and walked to our palisades and was calling my son from there. Fortunately my child did not want to speak to the stranger,” Ms Govender said.
By this time, the Govenders’ younger daughter also came to see what was going on, but was held back by the nanny.
“The man tried to convince our nanny that he was a friend of the family and that he knew our kids, but the children were terrified.”
The nanny chased away the man and threatened to call the police.
Mr Govender posted a warning on Facebook the next day. Another person replied that she had also seen a man in a white Renault Clio in Azalea Street on Thursday, 30 August.
According to this post, the man was accompanied by an elderly woman who was taking photographs of children playing in the neighbourhood.
When confronted, the woman apparently climbed back into the car and the couple drove off. This could not be confirmed.
Another warning was circulated on Monday that a young boy was approached by an elderly Indian man at the bus stop at the mini Pick n Pay on Sunday, 2 September.
Apparently, the man asked the boy to perform sexual acts, but the child ran away.
This man is described as elderly with two gold front teeth. He drives an old grey Volkswagen Jetta.
Capt Bettina Zondo, spokesman for the police, said that none of these incidents have yet been reported to the police, and she also warned parents to be alert and to know where their children are at all times.
“We must teach our children not to speak to strangers.”
Capt Zondo urged people to report these incidents to the police.