Rivers of tears flowed at the heart-wrenching funeral of slain Sydenham boy, Miguel Louw (9) who was laid to rest on Saturday after his body was found in Phoenix, on Monday, 3 September.
DNA test results on Wednesday, confirmed that the remains found in a shallow grave in Phoenix, a stone’s throw from the house of Miguel’s alleged kidnapper on Longbury Drive, Mohammed Vahed Ebrahim (43), was indeed that of Miguel Louw. Scores of mourners filled St Anne’s Church in Sydenham and wept for the short-lived life of the murdered Miguel, whilst melancholic tunes from a bagpiper added to the sombre atmosphere. The family of the little boy, attired in white with his picture emblazoned on the front, sat shattered in the front pew as his remains in the little coffin lay before them.
Following a tear-jerking service, Miguel was finally laid to rest in a private cremation before which balloons and white pigeons were released into the sky in his memory. Whilst the family, friends and community mourned for Miguel, his suspected kidnapper, Ebrahim, remains behind bars. He was granted bail of R2 500 but was unable to raise the cash. Police confirmed that Ebrahim will now face murder charges.
On Friday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele visited Miguel’s Rippon Road Primary School for a memorial service in his honour. “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 exist. 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 stepfather who arrives to collect someone young, police are not going to stop them,” he added. The memorial ended as learners released nine white balloons into the sky to honour Miguel.