May 25 2009 at 12:47PM

By Francis Hweshe, Nontobeko Mtshali and Hanti Otto

More than 900 children are reported missing in South Africa - half of them in the Western Cape.

It's as if "a whole school of children has just disappeared and people do not see that as a crisis", says Pieter Boshoff, founder and vice-chairperson of the organisation Missing Children SA.

As the world marks International Missing Children's Day today and the start of Child Protection Week, a Saldanha Bay family is still searching for 10-year-old Montesha Kekana. She has been missing for four days and the family believes she was raped and murdered.

'we sit by the sea to see if something would come out'
Of the 900 children reported missing in South Africa, Boshoff said 448 were from the Western Cape.

Statistics for other provinces included 311 children reported missing in Gauteng and 147 in KwaZulu-Natal. Limpopo had the lowest number, with four children reported missing.
"Last year we saw a dramatic increase in children being reported missing, with 1 091 children in the first eight months," Boshoff said.

In Saldanha Bay yesterday, Magdalene White, spokesperson for Montesha's family, urged the authorities to do more to find the girl or her body.

Police said Montesha was last seen walking with a 32-year-old man, who had since been arrested in connection with her disappearance on Friday. "She is still missing and the search is still on," said Captain Bernadine Steyn.

'I cannot sleep because my child is somewhere out there'
White described Montesha as "a ray of sunshine", adding that the most difficult part for the family was not knowing whether she was alive or dead, or whether her body had been hidden in bushes or thrown into the sea.

From dawn to dusk "we sit by the sea to see if something would come out", said White.

On Saturday residents searched the bushes where the girl's underwear and shirt were found, but found nothing.

Grieving mother Vanessa Kekana said she was heartbroken.

"I cannot sleep because my child is somewhere out there. I only want the body to bury," she said, her voice breaking.

Montesha's school principal, Andries Hector, described her as "a wonderful girl".

Decrying the "decay in moral values in society", he said the school and community needed to act to ensure "nothing like this ever happened again".

"We need to keep our sons and daughters in the neighbourhood safe," said Hector.

Boshoff said more than 90 percent of all children reported missing were usually found within the first week - most were those who had run away from home.

Social Development Minister Edna Molewa said communities needed to get involved and intensify the promotion of children's rights and child protection.

This year's Child Protection Week campaign runs until Saturday and focuses on the theme "Caring communities protect children".

The aim of this week was to promote partnerships between all sectors of society to improve the living conditions of vulnerable children and their families.

The Department of Social Development has joined the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) and civil society organisations to highlight the importance of child protection, with provincial departments planning activities throughout the week.

Molewa said the government had passed comprehensive legislation regarding the care and protection of children.

"These include the Children's Act 38 of 2005, the Children's Amendment Act 41 of 2007, and the Social Assistance Act 6 of 2008.

"The establishment of the Child Protection Register will assist us to gather information on the extent of child abuse, neglect or exploitation of children,"she said.

"This will enable us to plan and allocate resources to child protection services."

"I am therefore appealing to everyone to wear the green ribbon during the Child Protection Week to show support for the promotion of the rights of children," Molewa said.

Please Make Note

Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.

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Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

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