WATCH | Brazen hijackers kidnap lawyer, friend in Centurion in broad daylight
CCTV footage has emerged of a lawyer and her friend being kidnapped in Centurion. The incident took place on November 14 2018. The victims were freed a few hours later.
Two women, including Charity Mhlungu Nzuza, an official with the National Forum on the Legal Profession, were held up and pulled out of a car at gunpoint on Wednesday afternoon.
They were freed hours later.
The incident occurred at a townhouse complex in Raslouw Lane, according to the Centurion Concerned Residents' Forum on Facebook, which posted a video of the incident. The video has since been shared to other social media channels.
"Suspects took two ladies with. Hijacked Polo recovered in Johannesburg with no suspects," the group shared.
Then came the announcement: "Both ladies have been found and are alive and safe."
South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi told TimesLIVE on Thursday morning that Nzuza and her associate were kidnapped in Centurion around 5pm on Wednesday afternoon.
He said both women were found alive around 1am on Thursday.
"I think they were looking for the R6-million budget of her department, that is what she told the family. They heard that she was in control of that department."
In CCTV footage recorded of the incident, the women are travelling in a silver Volkswagen Polo. They stop outside a gate at a residential block of flats. One woman gets out.
A white Mercedes Benz stops behind them. Three armed men get out and run towards the Polo. The men open the door and drag a woman dressed in a blue dress towards their white Mercedes. She lies helplessly on the pavement next to the car before she is put in the back seat.
A second woman is dragged by the hand and put in the boot. The men drive off with the boot still open.
Vavi tweeted his relief that the women were found.
Thanks to all Charity Nzuza has been found at 1am this morning. The criminals dropped her at a garage. Criminals had been told she controls a budget of R6m at work&were convinced she can transfer all of it to them. They however succeeded to transfer her personal money on d phone pic.twitter.com/cfp84NBv6r— Zwelinzima Vavi (@Zwelinzima1) November 15, 2018
"Thanks to all, Charity Nzuza has been found at 1am this morning. The criminals dropped her at a garage. Criminals had been told she controls a budget of R6m at work and were convinced she can transfer all of it to them. They, however, succeeded to transfer her personal money on (the) phone."
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said it was alleged that a 63-year-old man was also travelling in the Volkswagen polo with Nzuzu and her friend.
"Four armed suspects jumped out of the Mercedes Benz and pointed firearms at the victims. The suspects forcefully took the polo and drove away with the two ladies," he said.
Masondo said one woman was dropped in Midrand later that evening and the second woman was found in Johannesburg in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The hijacked vehicle was found abandoned in Johannesburg. He could not confirm a motive behind the kidnapping.
Police are investigating a case of hijacking and kidnapping.
This article will be updated as further information is obtained.