1 000 missing

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

More than a thousand children go missing every year in South Africa and many of them are never found.

The few who are located have often been raped or killed. Pieter Boshoff, of the group Missing Children, says police are still looking for more than 920 children who have been missing for more than two years. "Of the 185 Western Cape children who went missing between January and August, 150 of have been found," says Boshoff.

He says in KwaZulu-Natal more than 70 children went missing in those eight months., but could not say how many had been found.

Pre-adolescents are most likely to run away from home but toddlers were usually kidnapped. Boshoff says there is a seasonal trend for missing children. Most youngsters run away from home in December, but toddlers are kidnapped mostly in winter.

Amanda Mbatha, 3, is one of the few lucky toddlers who have been found unharmed. The girl from Jeppestown, Johannesburg, was reported missing at the beginning of this month after her retarded uncle was alleged to have kidnapped her. Police found her roaming alone in the city centre and she was placed in a house of safety in Soweto.