Children profiled for awareness campaign

Scores of children had their physical details recorded at a Parow shopping centre, at the weekend, in case they go missing one day.

The Parow Community Police Forum (CPF) and the Pink Ladies, an organisation that posts pictures of missing people, ran the programme at Shoprite Park on Saturday June 10.

It was the first part of a three-week campaign to capture children’s physical data and fingerprints on a document that parents can keep and give to the police in an emergency.

This comes in the wake of several child killings in the city in recent weeks. The body of Courtney Pieters, 3, from Elsies River, was found in a shallow grave in Epping Industria on Saturday May 13 – nine days after she went missing.

Earlier this month, the body of Minentle Lekatha, 5, from Nomzamo, Strand, was found after she went missing on Saturday June 3.

These cases were on the minds of many parents standing in line with their children on Saturday. Hajiera le Roux, from Elsies River, came with her grandchildren, Deandre, 5, and Goddesia Jarson, 3. She said it was for their safety that she wanted their physical details recorded.

“If something happens to my children, then I have the information,” she said.

Mom Zukiswa Gwantshu, from Strand, was there with her son, Izo.

They had come to Parow for an outing, but she took the opportunity to have Izo’s details captured.

Ms Gwantshu said she had seen a commotion near her home when Minentle’s body had been found hidden under a bridge.

Jonathan Lawrence had brought his son Blake, 3, to the stand where his eye colour, scars and other physical details were recorded.

Mr Lawrence has been a policeman for 14 years and is based in Khayelitsha. Holding his son in his arms, he said: “I’ve seen it all, and that is why I told my wife we have to do this.”

Pink Ladies volunteer Roy Davidson, from Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain, said it was sad such terrible circumstances had made the organisation’s work well known.

“It has taken horrible brutal killings, to make people aware,” he said.

CPF chairman Roger Cannon thanked the Pink Ladies volunteers for helping to run the programme in Parow.

“It’s coming closer. It’s not happening ‘out there’ anymore,” he said.

Two-hundred children were profiled on the day. “If anything happens you have all the information and you can give it to authorities,” Parow CPF secretary Christel Schoeman said.

On Youth Day, Friday June 16, the awareness campaign will be at Plattekloof Village Centre, from 10am to noon, and at Parow Valley Spar, in Mark Street, on Saturday June 24, from 9am to noon.

Contact cpfparow@gmail.com for more information.