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Time is of the essence

In recent weeks, social media sites have been flooded with people asking to locate their missing relatives; mostly being young women.

The recent case being that of 19-year-old University of Cape Town student, Uyinene Mrwetyana who went missing for a week after visiting a the Clareinch post office in Claremont to enquire about a parcel she was due to receive.

Mrwetyana was found raped and murdered in Khayelitsha a week later.

Her accused murderer has since been kept in police custody where he is awaiting trial.

Kraaifontein police spokesperson Capt Hein Hendricks urged the community to report missing people to the police as soon as possible.

“There is no waiting period to report a missing person.

“It is imperative for the police to start investigations into missing persons as soon as possible as this will ensure that a possible crime being committed against or with the missing person is prevented,” Hendricks said.

He said that one should not panic when their loved one has gone missing.

“Do a quick search to check whether the person is really missing. Contact their friends, school, neighbours and anyone else you can think of,” he added.

He said that when going to the police station, a person should take the missing person’s most recent photograph and, if possible, make sure that it is of good quality so that the person is easily identifiable.

“Give a good description of what the person was wearing, their last whereabouts and any information that may help the police. You will also have to complete a SAPS 55 (A) form which safeguards the police against false or hoax reports.

“This form also gives the police permission to distribute the photo and information of the missing child.”

If the person returns home, Hendricks said the police will need to be informed.

Hendricks also gave tips for parents to safeguard their children.

He said parents should always know where their children are, what they are wearing and who they are with. 

“Know your child’s friends including names, addresses and telephone numbers. Teach your children their names, address, your name and telephone number. This will make it easier to contact you if your missing child is found.”

Here are some tips to safeguard children: 

  • Teach your child never to go anywhere alone.

  • Teach your child never to trust strangers. They should never go with anyone if not instructed by you and should never accept gifts from people they do not know.

  • Speak to your child about the dangers of communicating with strangers online.

    Here are some tips for children:
  • Never go anywhere alone, walk in groups. Remember the buddy system.
  • Always tell your parents where you are going, especially if your plans change.
  • Know your parents’ names, telephone numbers and address.
  • Do not interact, talk or take gifts from strangers.
  • Make a scene when you think that you are in danger.
  • Do not play alone in the streets.

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