By Danica Hansen
Minister of Police Bheki Cele visited Rippon Primary for a memorial service to honour the late Miguel Louw on Friday, 14 September at 11am. This, after DNA tests confirmed that the body of a child found last week in Phoenix is that of Miguel Louw who was reported missing in July this year. With the DNA results, Mohamed Ebrahim (43) who was accused of kidnapping Miguel and arrested shortly after Miguel disappeared will now face murder charges. Cele said that the investigation continues.
“The family is very down, but we have requested that no matter how painful the situation, we are making a call on them to co-operate with us and work with us,” he said.
Speaking after the memorial, Cele said that he had requested a full-blown report after the Louw family reported difficulty dealing with an officer that was “not very kind.” “I want to remind the nation that the 48 hour wait because somebody is missing, before it is reported, is gone. It does not exists, police must immediately pick up (the case), worse when there’s a child reported. So we will be looking at it and that person deserves punishment,” said Cele.
During the memorial, Cele spoke about preventative measures that the community can take to protect children and highlighted the vital role that parents play. “With these stories, there is some kind of relationship, where these kids perish at the hands of people they know which means, as parents we need to be pay extra attention about whose hands we put our kids into. If there is somebody who is supposed to be a step father who arrives to collect someone young, police are not going to stop them,” he added.
Speaking at the memorial the HOD for the senior primary, Sushika Singh thanked the minister for attending. “We want to place on special record, our thanks to the minister of police for gracing us with your presence. I would also like to thank all other invited guests, dignitaries, the family of Miguel, parents and other well wishes who have taken time off to be here to celebrate the life of our little baby,” she said.
Amidst the well wishes, was Sydenham resident, Zurleen Wilson who said she had lived near to Miguel. “I grew up with him, I knew him since he was a baby, he grew up in front of me and I came here today to say my last goodbyes. I liked him because he was a humble person,” she said.
Wilson recalled how Miguel would run errands for her, when she gave him money to buy items for her from the shop.
The memorial ended as learners released nine white balloons into the sky to honour Miguel.