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Kidnappings Continues to Rise in SA, Alongside Extortion

Kidnappings, including “express kidnappings” continued to increase alongside extortion in Cape Town.

Victims were held under duress and threatened with violence while they were forced to withdraw funds from their bank account, or to grant access to other forms of valuables, said safety and security Mayco member JP Smith.

On Sunday, a badly assaulted victim was rescued during a patrol in Zwelitsha Drive, Nyanga. Law Enforcement Advancement Plan officers noted a Ford EcoSport being driven suspiciously.

After they stopped the vehicle and performed a routine safety check, the suspects started to act nervously. While searching the officers discovered a fake firearm and a knife that appeared to be freshly stained with blood. In the boot the members found an injured victim who had been badly assaulted.

The victim confirmed he had been kidnapped earlier. All occupants of the vehicle were placed under arrest and taken to Nyanga SAPS.

On Tuesday, last week, a silver VW Polo was reported hijacked and the driver kidnapped in Kuyasa. The Harare Carjacking Team followed up on tracker location, which led them to Enkanini. The driver was found assaulted and tied up in the boot of his car. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment due to multiple injuries to the head.

Members arrested two suspects in possession of two stolen vehicles, cellphones, three plasma televisions as well as an unlicensed firearm.

Also earlier in the month, SAPS spokesperson FC van Wyk said that on June 30, police were lauded for arresting suspects driving a Mercedes-Benz and white Polo on their way to Bellville to commit a business robbery and to kidnap a foreign businessman.

The vehicles were intercepted at Old Paarl Road, Bellville, and near a petrol station in Oakglen, Bellville, respectively. Seven suspects were then arrested.

Meanwhile on Friday night, June 2, another victim, 31 year-old Staphanie Raith from Welgemoed, was taken as she left her workplace, a family business called Raith Gourmet in Parow Industrial. Her vehicle was later discovered at NY99 in Gugulethu after she failed to return home from work.

Smith said that in an express kidnapping, the perpetrators usually avoided having any form of contact with the victims’ family or friends.

United Public Safety Front’s Imraahn Mukaddam said kidnapping and extortion went hand in hand, and that no township or suburb was immune as it could happen anywhere.

“There are a lot of cases where people with businesses are being kidnapped, and a few others end up being killed after failing or refusing to pay an extortion fee. Currently Uber drivers are also being hijacked and taken to ATMs where the suspect will empty their bank accounts before leaving them stranded.”

Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee said there was no doubt about the increase of kidnapping in South Africa, both by big syndicates and small gangs.

“While the police have their kidnapping task teams for big kidnapping cases, there’s also a need for another special unit dealing with the small cases where individuals are being held hostage while the suspects take their vehicles and so on.”

During the release of the fourth quarter crime statistics, January to March 2023 for the 2022/23 financial year, numbers revealed that the Western Cape had a 7.7% reduction in the kidnapping rate.

Source : IOL