Parents 'have a responsibility' to know where their children are - Bheki Cele at Miguel Louw memorial
Police Minister Bheki Cele didn't mince his words in Durban on Friday when he called on parents to be more vigilant with the whereabouts of their children during the memorial service for nine-year-old Miguel Louw.
"Who are you allowing to put hands on your children? I am not going to shy away [from] this one. Parents more than anybody have a responsibility," he said looking at the parents of the slain boy.
He was speaking at Rippon Primary School, where Miguel was a pupil. The boy is thought to have been abducted a short distance away from the school.
Speaking more broadly, Cele said that young children were the responsibility of all.
"You go around and ask where the police were, but you do not know where your two-year-old is? We must work together."
He called on police to strengthen their relationship with the education sector.
Suspects usually not strangers
"They are under siege. We need to enhance the preventative measures rather than reactive ones. Police must preach the gospel of extra vigilance with young people."
He said parents should know who has access to their children.
"I think parents must have extra vigilance in allowing family friends and relatives to have access to kids."
Cele said, as in many cases of missing children, the suspect was not a stranger to the Louw family.
"The suspect was known to the family and [this] makes my point. We need to know who is with our kids."
He said that police were considering challenging the bail of accused 43-year-old Mohammed Ebrahim and charging him with murder.
No 48-hour rule on reporting missing persons
"We are working together to get an outcome with the family. The family is very down, but we requested that no matter how they feel... [we have asked] them to cooperate with us."
Cele said the family raised concerns about their initial contact with police.
"When they went to report the case, a police officer was not very kind. I have asked for a report to be given to police leadership to take the matter up."
He said there was no 48-hour waiting period for reporting missing persons.
"That 48-hour rule is gone. Police must immediately attend to the matter and investigate."
Cele said police were investigating all possibilities in the boy's death.
"We are not ruling anything out. We are looking at all sides. We are not going to close our eyes [to] any form of investigation."