Ntwaagae Seleka and Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi
A 24-hour frantic search for a missing toddler by his parents and police ended at a pit toilet in the neighbourhood yesterday.
Two-year-old Tebogo Tshabalala was last seen alive playing with his friends in Boitumelo, Klipriver, on Saturday afternoon.
Yesterday, his body was pulled out of a pit toilet just metres from his home. The toddler's death is a mystery to his family and the community.
When Tebogo did not return home on Saturday afternoon, his mother and neighbours launched a frantic search.
His father John Rantoa, 25, said he was at work when he was told that his son was missing.
"I was fetched from work and hurried back home. I then joined the search hoping that we were going to find my son alive," said a weeping Rantoa.
"I thought that he was somewhere playing with friends. I have no words to explain how I feel about my loss," he said.
Tebogo's mother Sibongile Tshabalala cried uncontrollably. The family sat patiently near the scene while emergency personnel drained water out of the toilet hoping to retrieve him alive.
Community leader, Pule Lesia, said they launched a door-to-door search for the little boy.
"We thought he was around so we searched every house and the nearby bushes hoping to find him," said Lesia.
He said the incident was the first one to happen in the area.
Constable Tebogo Lephoto said the police reacted swiftly.
"We called our dog unit and the search and rescue team to search for Tebogo until our investigations led us to the toilet where he was found dead," said Lephoto.
Councillor Robert Jones said they would conduct investigations into the incident.
"It should never have happened. A child has died and this is unacceptable."