EL schools on high alert
The East London community has been left reeling following allegations of attempted child abductions last week. On Thursday, the SAPS issued a warning to community members to be vigilant after two reported cases of attempted kidnapping in Vincent and Cambridge.
One of the mothers targeted, Teoda Marcus, from Gonubie, said she was walking to her car after fetching her son from school when she was approached by a man looking for directions.
Marcus said she gave the man the directions and when she went to the side of the car, the man tried to open the passenger side where her son was. When she asked him what he was doing, the man pushed her and walked away.
“When I got to the police station to report what had happened, there was another mother who was also opening a case because a man had walked into her son’s school in Cambridge and acted as if he was looking for his child. When she described him to me, it sounded like the same guy.”
Following the reports, schools issued warnings to pupils and parents.
Bellafides Private School principal Clarissa Masola said vigilance and talking to your children about how to react around strangers was the key to be safe in these situations.
Masola said they were fortunate that no one could get into their
school grounds unless permitted entry by the office. However, not all schools have such a system in place.
“Parents need to make sure their children are educated about ‘Stranger Danger’. Don’t think it can’t happen to your child. I hear parents say my child will never go off with someone and then we see those children happily talking to another parent they
do not know on the playground. Children can be very trusting when someone is sweet-talking and offers them a treat or toy,” she said.
AW Barnes Primary School’s principal Geoffrey Gamiet said they had informed parents and children in their school about the incidences.
Selborne Primary School, as well as Cambridge Primary School, also issued a statement about safety for children.
Red Alert shared safety tips for children and parents:
Young children should:
Never say they are alone if they answer the phone. They can offer to take a message or say their parents will phone back;
Never answer the door if they are alone;
Do not invite anyone into the house without the permission of a parent or babysitter;
Do not go into people’s houses without letting anyone know;
Never play in deserted buildings or isolated areas.
Avoid clothing and toys with your child’s name on it. A child is less likely to fear someone that knows their name.
Check all potential babysitters and older friends of your child;
Never leave a child alone in a public place, a pram or car, not even for a minute;
Always accompany young children to the bathroom in a public place and advise them never to play in or around the area;
Keep an up-to-date colour photograph of your child, a medical and dental history, and have your child fingerprinted.
Red Alert regional manager Brett Harvey said they had about 10 vehicles stationed outside a number of primary schools in East London.
SAFETY FIRST: Red Alert have stationed about 10 armed response vehicles outside various primary schools in East London