Mother sees man trying to grab child

LYDENBURG – A mother believes that what she witnessed at a local supermarket was an attempt to kidnap her four-year-old daughter. Ms Miranda Pienaar said she, her husband Franco and their daughter Charliné went to the supermarket in Viljoen Street on Sunday at about 21:15.

“Charliné wanted to go with Franco to pick out some sweets. I sat in the car and luckily watched her the whole time.” Miranda was watching the events from through the car windscreen and supermarket window, over a distance of about four metres. “While my husband was busy at the cashier, Charliné was about half a metre to his left, choosing sweets. At that moment two men showed up at the supermarket,” said Miranda.

One walked into the shop and stood directly behind Charliné. The other waited outside. “At that moment I saw him trying to grab my child. As he reached for her, the cashier looked up and he pretended to be looking at the groceries. I froze and prepared to open the car door. Charliné started to move closer to her dad. Both of them were still unaware of what was happening. The one inside then pointed to her twice and the one who was outside moved closer to the entrance,” said Miranda.

She immediately got out of the car and walked towards her husband and daughter who were still at the cashier, still unaware of what was happening. “It was only when I walked towards them that the man outside the supermarket noticed me.” He then coughed loudly. In the meantime Franco and Charliné walked out of the shop and the man who pointed to Charliné also walked out. “He did not buy anything and as soon as we walked out, he followed and both men left.

I warned people on Facebook to always watch their children and hold them close. I saw how quickly it could have happened. They could have grabbed her and run. Where would you start looking? Kids are helpless. I don’t know what I would have done if it had happened,” said Miranda.

The Missing Persons Bureau states that one child goes missing every five hours in South Africa. According to Unicef and World Concern, some estimates have as many as 1,2 million children being trafficked every year.

Capt Alfred Moela, spokesman for Lydenburg SAPS, said in such instances the police had to be notified immediately. “It is imperative that the SAPS are contacted as soon as possible. The town is full of criminals. If it appears that the suspects are armed, don’t try and apprehend them, but call the SAPS. Child trafficking is an awful crime. Lydenburg is full of strangers at the moment on account of illegal settlements and new extensions. We plead and urge the community to report any suspicious-looking activities immediately,” said Moela.

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