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Car boot tragedy raises questions

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Community members are convinced that the two young boys who became trapped in the boot of a car in Jan Kempdorp would not have gotten into the vehicle of their own accord.

Community members look inside the boot of the Mercedes-Benz car where the two young boys were trapped. Picture: Soraya Crowie

COMMUNITY members are convinced that the two young boys who became trapped in the boot of a car in Jan Kempdorp would not have gotten into the vehicle of their own accord.

A three-year-old and four-year-old boy were reported missing by their parents on March 16 and were found two days later, five houses away from their residences in Valspan.

They were found locked inside the boot of a Mercedes-Benz car that was parked at the back of a mechanic’s yard on Monday afternoon, following a frantic search involving the community and the police.

The Jan Kempdorp police have opened an inquest into the death of the three-year-old boy.

The four-year-old boy survived but was very weak and dehydrated when he was found.

The circumstances surrounding their disappearance are also still under investigation.

Bereaved family members have called for an investigation into the possibility that the two boys, who were cousins who lived in the same street, could have been kidnapped.

“We don’t want to make any assumptions and are waiting for the results of the autopsy before the funeral can take place,” the family members added.

Family members have questioned the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of two young boys. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Neighbours questioned whether the boys had perhaps been sedated and pointed out that they could not have climbed into the boot without assistance.

“Why did they only call for help two days after they went missing? We do not know where the three-year-old boy’s clothes are. Perhaps they were targeted for a muti killing,” they speculated.

Another resident added that his brother, who stays in the yard, had gone to smoke inside the Mercedes-Benz on Sunday and had not heard any noises or noticed any movement in the car.

“There was an empty bucket that was taken out of the boot.”

The next-door neighbour, Baby Phatsoane, heard the four-year-old boy trying to get out of the car on March 18 from inside her home.

“I heard a loud banging from inside the car and called the mechanic. The boot was shut and there was no way that they could have gotten out,” Phatsoane said.

The two boys were found after a neighbour heard banging coming from the inside of the boot. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Thapelo Motaung stated that they had searched tirelessly for his missing nephew, Keketso Motaung, 3, and his four-year-old cousin, who were last seen playing in the yard on Saturday afternoon.

“Everyone was involved in the search, nobody slept. We looked for the boys everywhere including in the Mashakeng area and the veld,” said Thapelo.

He pointed out that it was “impossible for the boys to have survived for such a long time without any food or water in a hot, stuffy enclosure”.

“We have been experiencing a heatwave with extremely high temperatures. How do we know that someone was not giving them refreshments inside the boot?” he asked.

Keketso’s 20-year-old mother, Tsholofelo Motaung, who is seven months pregnant with her second child, said that she was still in shock.

“All this stress is not good for the baby and I have not been provided with any counselling. I do not know how I am going to cope,” she said.

She added that she knew something was wrong when Keketso did not come home on Saturday.

“I am sure that someone must have taken the boys. I strongly doubt whether they would have willingly climbed into the car themselves.”

Keketso Motaung, 3. Picture: Supplied

Another local resident, Lebogang Banyatsi, said that he had arranged a community meeting to be held on March 21 as residents were concerned about the safety of their children.

“This is not the first time that children have gone missing and were found deceased. Our children are not free to play in their own yards and no one has been arrested,” said Banyatsi.

He added that delays were experienced after an ambulance and forensic services were called when the boys were found.

“The manager of the Valspan clinic transported the four-year-old boy with her private vehicle to get medical assistance. We want the call centre to be re-opened in Jan Kempdorp because calls first have to be logged in Kimberley before emergency services are sent out to assist patients. I have also made numerous requests for social workers to assist the community who are dealing with traumatic events such as this.”

The Northern Cape Department of Health had not responded to media enquiries by the time of publication.

Neighbours stared in disbelief at the vehicle after two young children were found trapped inside the boot. Picture: Soraya Crowie
The yard where the two young children were found is situated five doors from their homes. The Mercedes-Benz was parked in the far back end of the yard. Picture: Soraya Crowie

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