The mother of three young girls who managed to escape being abducted in Colorado Park in Mitchell’s Plain on Sunday has lauded her children’s bravery, but believes they may have been victims of human trafficking. The three girls, aged 14, 11 and 8 years old, fought off the suspects, who had tried to shove them into a white bakkie on Sunday afternoon at the corners of Rosewood and Ceasar Street.
Recounting the shocking experience, Yasmina Brown Dinnie said she had taken an afternoon nap and their father kept himself busy in the garage, as the girls took a stroll to the local shop. On their way back, a white Nissan bakkie drove past twice, and raised the suspicions of eight year old Amaarah. The eldest sister Kauthar, 14 years, then told her younger sisters to walk in front of her, when the bakkie made a U-turn in their direction. The bakkie stopped and the suspects grabbed Kauthar by the arm and instructed her to get into the vehicle.
“The suspects shouted “get in or we will shoot you”. Kauthar said she didn’t see a gun so her first instinct was to throw herself to the ground, knowing that the suspects won’t be able to pick her up. That’s when they started kicking and hitting her and she shouted at her sisters to call their father. Eleven year old Adhraa ran and screamed all the way, but the younger one Amaarah turned around and saw the men kicking her sister and then picked up stones to throw at them. This is when they assaulted her,” Yasmina recalls.
At this point, Kauthar decided to get up and fight back, as her biggest fear was that the men would apprehend her younger sister and drive away. The men eventually gave up as the girls had drawn too much attention to the scene, and then sped off.
“By the time my husband got there, she was lying in the road and the younger one was trying to help her. That’s when neighbours tried ran to the scene,” said Yasmina.
“Alhamdullilah, the younger girls stayed focus and could describe what the bakkie looked like and what the men looked like.”
According to the girls, there were five men inside the vehicle, allegedly foreign nationals. The white bakkie appeared to have rust on the bonnet and had no number plate.
Kauthar suffered minor head injuries with soft tissue bruising and swelling and scrape marks on her face. Ammarah was kicked in the stomach and head and has abdominal muscular pain.
“Alhamdullilah, we are just grateful they are safe and they are now receiving trauma counselling.”
Members of the neighbourhood watch and the girl’s father went in search of this bakkie and drove into the nearby informal settlements. Yasmina first called her family and then the police, who she claims, did not take her full details during the call. She was promised that a police van would be sent to their home to take their statements, but the family waited for hours.
“We had to go through so many channels and I eventually just told the girls we would go to hospital as we could not wait anymore. At 7.15pm as I went to the pharmacy, my husband phoned to tell me the police came. I spoke to the Lentegeur station commander who i currently in Johannesburg and can only see me on Thursday. I told him we called and called, and no one came. The law failed us!”
Yasmina said police told her that most officials were deployed to monitor the recent land invasions and protests in Woodlands and could not help for the delay.
“This issue angered me so much because of what my girls went through,” she stressed.
“When we needed the police to protect us, they were not there. Why must something happen before we get more police visibility. We have asked for more police patrols as the area is quiet, but this never happens.”
City of Cape Town law enforcement officer Ridwaan Nero assisted the family when he received a call from ward councillors Joan Woodman and Washiela Harris informing him that no police or trauma counsellers arrived to take statements from the girls. He then logged a call with SAPS.
“I made my way to the house and from there I made calls to some high ranking officials. The kids meanwhile were taken to Melomed to be checked out. I stayed with Councillor Harris at the residence waiting for SAPS to arrive. The girls returned and the process was followed. I also contacted Social Services to arrange counselling for the family.”
Western Cape police have confirmed that they are investigating a case of attempted kidnapping and assault. But police officials could not respond to the complaints raised by the girls’ mother.
As the family deals with the trauma of this experience, Yasmina has warned parents to safeguard their children at all times. But she believes the community must play a bigger role in protecting themselves.
“People must come out of their homes and assist and be visible. Its winter and people are cosy inside their homes, and that’s when criminals strike. This is the only way we can make a difference.”
Anyone with information about the incident is requested to contact the investigating officer Detective Warrant Office Faizel Meyer of Mitchells Plain Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit at 082 522 1066. VOC