Kids caught crossing border

Frank Maponya

Limpopo police have asked the community to assist them in identifying relatives of two small children who were caught while illegally crossing the border from Zimbabwe.

The children, aged four and five, were walking with a group of people when they came across members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) along the border in Musina early on Saturday.

The group was crossing into the country, possibly on their way to Gauteng to seek employment or to visit relatives.

Spokesman for the provincial police, Superintendent Ronel Otto, said the other members of the group ran in different directions when they saw the SANDF members, leaving the children behind.

The children were identified as Themba Malingisa, 4, from Harare, and Pappa John, 5, from Chiredzi, a village in Zimbabwe.

Otto said the children said they were on their way to visit their parents who work in Johannesburg.

She said the children were in the care of police in Musina.

"Members of the SANDF who were on patrol told us they caught up with a group of people in the bushes outside Musina.

"The group had just crossed illegally into the country at around 1am on Saturday," explained Otto.

She said the SANDF members could not arrest anyone except the children.

"The other members of the group apparently outran the soldiers, into the bushes.

"It was dark and the soldiers did not have any idea whether that group crossed back to their home country or whether they proceeded into South Africa," she said.

Anyone with information is requested to contact the Musina Police or Superintendent Maggie Mathebula.