Pebco Three grandson missing since May

DISAPPEARED: Soso Hashe. 078/08/07. © UNknown.
DISAPPEARED: Soso Hashe. 078/08/07. © UNknown.

Eric Naki

A national police investigation has been under way since May into the disappearance of the grandson of one of the Pebco Three activists.

Sophumla "Soso" Hashe, 6, grandson of Sipho Hashe, one of the Port Elizabeth Black Civic Organisation (Pebco) Three, went missing on May 24 - the same month that his grandfather and two other prominent activists were abducted and killed in 1985.

Sipho Hashe, together with his two comrades, Champion Galela and Qaqawuli Godolozi, was abducted and killed by apartheid-era police on May 8 1985.

In May this year Soso, a Grade 1 pupil, was playing with two friends in the street outside his mother's home in Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.

Soso's father, Siyabulela Hashe, who is Sipho Hashe's son, told Sowetan yesterday that the boy was taken away by a stranger.

The friends saw him accompanying the stranger but could give no further details about the incident. The child was usually fetched from NU 8 before being taken to his home at NU 2.

Siyabulela Hashe, an assistant at a local pharmaceutical firm, said when the boys were asked what the man looked like and whether he was driving a vehicle or not, they said they did not know because they had been immersed in playing at the time.

"Nobody else saw how this happened except his friends," said Siyabulela Hashe.

He said Soso's aunt, Thandokazi Cekiso, had just returned from the shop when she decided to call the boy from the street to come back to the house.

She was shocked to find that he had disappeared and his friends knew nothing of his whereabouts.

"Nobody expected this. It came as a shock to the family. When he went missing everybody got worried," said the boy's father.

Asked if he believes Soso's disappearance was linked to his grandfather's killing, Siyabulela said: "It is difficult for us to link it to my father's disappearance because the political era has since changed. If it was during the 1980s, I would say this was the case."

The child's disappearance was reported to the police on May 24 but he has still not been traced.

Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge confirmed the incident and said an investigation was under way.

"We have been looking for this boy since he was reported missing. We started locally and our investigation has now been extended nationally," said Beetge.

He said anyone who knows about Soso's whereabouts is requested to report to the nearest police station. The boys name has been posted on the Missing Children Bulletin.

The bulletin's Pieter Boschoff has urged people to report missing children to the police immediately and not wait 24 hours as is the general practice. Boschoff said he could be contacted on 072-647- 7464.

Their families have been given new hope by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) who have promised an investigation after the discovery of human remains, believed to be those of the three, at Post Chalmers, a former police farm near Cradock last month.

The NPA has invited the apartheid-era security police involved in the killings to come forward to help in the investigation.

Four police officers Herman Barend du Plessis, Johannes Martin van Zyl, Gideon Nieuwoudt and Gerhardus Johannes Lotz were refused amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.