The safety of children starts in the home

The safety of children starts in the home.
The safety of children starts in the home.
Image: Rawpixel Ltd /

Too often this newspaper publishes stories of children who go missing and their parents' worst nightmares being confirmed when they are later found dead.

Such was the case on Tuesday with the story of four-year-old Bokamoso whose body was found floating in a dam face down in Duduza, Ekurhuleni, a day after she had gone missing from her home.

Her mother Dipuo Tsotetsi said she last saw her daughter around midday on Friday before she fell asleep and when she woke up Bokamoso was nowhere to be seem.

Tsotetsi blamed police for their lack of urgency in helping her search for her daughter when she went to report her missin at the local police station.

Last week we published another gory story of Nonhlanhla, 10, whose father Shadrack Mabena found her mutilated body in a veld less than a kilometre from her home in Etwatwa, also in Ekurhuleni. She had been missing for a few days after she was last seen going to a spaza shop.

Statistics from Missing Children SA, a non-profit organisation that assists with the search and recovery of missing persons, showed that a child goes missing every nine hours in the country.

In the past year, a total of 124 children were reported missing with only about 92 of these children being found.

Whenever a child goes missing in this country, a blame is put on one thing or another. Often the police take the most flak for tardiness, lack of compassion and urgency in assisting frantic parents.

But very little is spoken of the responsibilities of the communities and parents where these incidents of child kidnappings and disappearances take place.

SA is a society besieged by high levels of crime that in particular have made women and children the most vulnerable groups.

We have seen and read about so many incidents of attempted child kidnappings in restaurants or shops yet the vigilance of society on these crimes is questionable.

Parents and communities, even in time of grief, must be asked the hard questions about their responsibility to care for children at all times, more so when these children are under siege from criminals.