Since the dawn of democracy in South Africa, more than 30 000 people have just inexplicably vanished in the country and Gauteng leads the pack with the most missing persons.
According to figures released to The Citizen by the SA Police Service’ Bureau of Missing Persons, a total of 38 230 have disappeared since 1995.
A total of 3 372 of these people were under the age of 18 when they disappeared, with males accounting for the bulk of the missing persons at 24 021 compared to 14 209 females.
Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape are the top three provinces with the most missing people and Northern Cape, North West and Limpopo were the three provinces with the least number of missing persons.
With a whopping 19 322 missing persons since 1995, Gauteng accounted for the most missing persons followed by KwaZulu-Natal at 6 673 and then Western Cape with 3 094 missing.
Northern Cape had the least number of missing persons at 644, followed by the North West with 1 130 and the Limpopo province with 1 255.
Professor Cheryl Potgieter, a psychologist attached to the Durban University of Technology in KZN, has said that having a family member or relative missing was traumatic, and draining emotionally, physically and financially.
She said family members of the missing person would blame themselves, which would in turn have a negative effect on their health, use all their financial resources to try to find the missing family member.
“There is lot of self-blame, they would also have different ways to cope. Some of them would become activists, others would be drawn to a not-so good coping mechanism like drinking or eating disorder,” Professor Potgieter said.
She added that in the case of missing children, relationships between the two parents tend to suffer and that the pain and loss was lifelong.