UNCLE SPEAKS OUT: Second missing Durban boy’s body found in harbour canal

Finding the body of Njabulo Mankayi (10) will allow the family to have closure

THE family of Njabulo Mankayi finally have closure after the 10-year-old’s body was found at 10am today (Monday, 13 November) by a Transnet employee, after he went missing along with his best friend, Luyanda Msomi, earlier last week.

Durban Search and Rescue police unit members as well as K9 rescue officers were called out to Langebaan Road in Bayhead to recover Njabulo’s body from Grunter Gully Canal.

The two boys, grade three pupils of Clairwood Primary School, were last seen boarding a bus to go home after school last Tuesday.

READ: Truck driver in court on child’s kidnap, rape charges

The sadness of Njabulo’s death is overshadowed by his family’s grief in being robbed of watching the young boy grow up. “We will never know what he would become, what person he would have chosen to be. He was such a lovely child and to know him was an honour. We are relieved he was found instead of having the uncertainty of not knowing what happened to him,” said Njabulo’s uncle, Zweledinga Mankayi.

The body of Njabulo’s friend, Luyanda Msomi was found in Dove Crescent, Montclair on Saturday, 11 November.

Communities surrounding Montclair gathered with the search teams to find the little boy. Among them were Bluff residents and founder of Community Orientated Policing (COP), Rake Jeeves and licensed drone operator, Deon Lottering who shared their experience of helping in the search.

ALSO READ: Women’s league condemns #Durbanbaby kidnapping

Deon Lottering said the ordeal was heartbreaking to watch, as Njabulo’s family watched helplessly while the rescue teams searched the canal. “I was asked by Bluff locals to take out the drone for a bit and help search the canals. I couldn’t fly under any of the bridges due to the 30km wind speeds at the time, but managed to give them eyes from above. I’ve only recently started up a business for high-end cinematic footage. As much as I am trying to start a business and make a living, I grew up on the Bluff and have a strong sense of loyalty to my community and don’t mind helping out when it comes to matters of safety,” he said.

Two women and a man were arrested in connection with the murders the same day that Luyanda’s body was found and will be charged with kidnapping and murder. Police say they will appear in court soon.

Jeeves said words failed to explain how heartbreaking the crime was. “All I could think of was how young they were. I was really hoping for a miracle, that we would find him (Luyanda) alive. I’m too angry at this tragedy. These children were only 10-years-old and were not even given a chance to experience life. I just pray they didn’t suffer,” he said sadly.

Aerial view of the search and rescue on Saturday 

ER24 rescue unit’s Leo Fourie was contacted to assist in Dove Crescent, where Luyanda’s body was found. “I didn’t know at the time that it was the body of a 10-year-old we were looking for and I thought wow, who would murder a child?

It’s so wrong. But in my work we have to put emotions aside and do our job. I hiked 15-metres up a hill to retrieve the boy’s body. We located him and put his tiny body in a stokes basket. He was still in his school uniform,” said Fourie.

He was asked to help search for the second body in the M7 canal along with the canine unit on Saturday. Due to fading light, they called off the search until Sunday morning. “When we donned our wetsuits and waded through the canals, all I could think about was his family, waiting to find out what had happened to their little boy. Our main job is to search and rescue and if we can give the families closure, then so be it,” he added.


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Lauren Beukes

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