Was Thandiwe abducted?

IN SAFE HANDS: Thandiwe Duma. 23/12/08. Pic. Mohau Mofokeng. © Sowetan.
IN SAFE HANDS: Thandiwe Duma. 23/12/08. Pic. Mohau Mofokeng. © Sowetan.

Sibongile Mashaba

Sibongile Mashaba

For four days Elizabeth Duma had sleepless nights - worried sick after her 11-year-old granddaughter went missing.

Thandiwe Duma, a mentally challenged Grade 4 pupil, went missing on Friday morning when she left her home in Mofolo North, Soweto, saying she was going to a nearby shop - but she never returned.

Duma's fear was that she would never see her granddaughter alive again. But yesterday her anxiety turned into joy when they were reunited.

Thandiwe had been taken to her aunt's house by passers-by who found her walking alone in the streets yesterday afternoon.

Now police say they suspect that "an abductor" may have released her after hearing reports on the radio that a search for the girl had been launched.

Jabulani police spokesman Inspector Kay Makhubele said: "The girl will have to tell the police where she was and what happened there. We are taking her to the doctor now to see if she was sexually abused and we will take it from there.

"Parents whose children go missing have to report it to the police immediately. It is usually 12 to 24 hours for adults.

"We are going to investigate this matter because the family took so long to come to the police station.

"If we find that there was negligence, we will arrest and charge the person responsible," he said.

Makhubele said a search for the girl was launched immediately after police received a missing person's report on Monday afternoon.

Thandiwe's family now plans to buy her a dress, shoes, sneakers and a doll for Christmas.

The grandmother said: "I did not know what to think.

"I had placed everything in God's hands. All I did was pray that she return home alive and unharmed."