Missing child last seen with convicted killer

Dalphine Tagwireyi

Mpumalanga police have launched a manhunt for two-time convicted killer Collen Hlongwane, revealing that missing six-year-old Bontle Mashiyane was last seen talking to the 33-year-old.

Bontle disappeared from her home in the village of Mganduzwane in Mpumalanga 13 days ago, becoming the sixth child since 2019 to go missing from the village.

Mpumalanga SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said that information received suggests that Bontle was last seen talking to Hlongwane on 30 April.

Hlongwane was first convicted in February 2008 for murder and possession of a fire-arm when he was just 19 years old. He shot a 25-year-old man in White River who later succumbed to his injuries.

Hlongwane was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for this crime, and was released on parole in 2013.

While on parole, he committed another murder.

“Hlongwane strangled a 20-year-old woman from White River and he was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for this heinous crime,” Mohlala explained.

While serving his sentence in 2019, Hlongwane escaped from the Barberton Medium A Correctional Centre but was apprehended 14 days later in White River. Police caught Hlongwane following a tip-off from vigilant community members.

In December 2021, Hlongwane was released on parole once again. He was recently said to be in a relationship with a woman who is the neighbour of the missing Bontle and is also nowhere to be found.

Brigadier Mohlala said the police are appealing for information on the whereabouts of Hlongwane that might assist their investigation.

Anyone with information that could assist in the investigation should contact Detective Sergeant Pretty Nsimba at 072 103 4717 / 083 442 3403 or the standby number for FCS at Pienaar at 082 303 9798. Alternatively, members of the public can contact the Crime Stop number on 08600 10111 or send information via MySAPS APP.