Where are mum and dad?'
MNYOKANE – A man and his wife have disappeared after leaving home for South Africa to claim his terminal benefits from a mine he used to work for.
Sipho Nyankura and his wife Thulisile (nee Simelane) left home in January this year.
They have left behind six children, the eldest of whom is 18.
The youngest is seven.
Their home is in Mnyokane, along the Motshane-Pigg’s Peak road.
They left their phones at home, which has made it difficult for their children and relatives to trace them.
Nyankura was wo-rking at the Western Deep Level Mine in Carletonville when he got injured and had to return home.
This was about two years ago.
His neig-hbours are aw-are that he was awaiting payment of his terminal benefits.
In January this year, Nyankura left home, telling his family he was going to South Africa to get his money.
A week later, his wife followed him after telling their six children that their father had called and wanted assistance with certain forms she had to sign before the money could be released. They have not been seen since.
They have not called back home. Neighbour Sipho Simelane who also worked with Nyankura at Carletonville told the Times SUNDAY that nobody in the area had an idea where the couple might be. "The children have been on their own for three months," he said. "Nyankura was the first one to leave and was then followed by his wife a week later." Simelane said he was not sure if Nyankura was able to get the money he hoped to get in South Africa.
"I worked with Nyankura since 1997," he said. "I decided to come back home in 2003 but he continued working. Two years ago, he was injured and had to come back home. I am not sure how his compensation was forwarded to him. In some cases, it is forwarded through TEBA (The Employment Bureau of Africa) while in some cases it is given directly to the employee. I am not sure what happened in Nyankura’s case."
Simelane said before the couple left, they came to him to borrow money to use to pay school fees for their children.
Their eldest is in Form Two while the youngest is still at preschool.
"They were no longer attending school because there was no money to pay for them. I then gave them E3 000, which is the amount they needed. I do not know what happened thereafter."
"We are all worried especially because they have children who cannot take care of themselves. The children have been getting food from neighb-ours. We try by all means to assist them where we can because we still have hope that their parents will come back."
‘I think they are dead’
MAPHALALENI – Mageba Simelane, the father of Thulisile who disappeared with her husband about three months ago, fears that the two are dead.
Simelane told the Times SUNDAY that they had looked for the couple everywhere but had not been able to trace their whereabouts.
"Even if they decided go and stay in South Africa, I do not think they would have decided to neglect their children just like that," he said.
"When we asked the children what their parents told them, they said they were going to get Nyankura’s money in Johannesburg and would come back soon. I think they are dead." Simelane said they had received information to the effect that when the couple got to South Africa, they met with a lawyer only identified as Mshayise.
"Luckily, my daughter left her phone behind and we were able to get the lawyer’s number," he said.
"We then called him and he confirmed having had several meetings with them. However, he said it had been a while since he last saw them as they had finalised everything."
Simelane said Mshayise did not want to be clear if they had got the money or not.
"The lawyer said he would not be in a position to give us details, but only said he had finalised everything with Nyan-kura. After he had said this, I assumed that Nyankura had got the money. We are now worried because they have not called any of their children just to ask how they were."
Simelane said the matter had already been reported to the police.
"The police have promised to help us find the whereabouts of Nyankura and my daughter."
Police Deputy PRO Assistant Superintendent Stephen Dlamini confirmed that the matter had been reported to the police. "The information we have is that the couple went to South Africa to fetch the husband’s money and since then they have not been seen. We have already launched an investigation," he said. Efforts to get comments from the Employment Bureau of Africa (TEBA) proved futile as management was reported to be out of the country. The Times SUNDAY also made an attempt to call Mshayise (lawyer) but he could not be reached as his phone was off.