Three cases of children kidnapped for ransom this month, police to set up top squad
Three kidnappings in three days this month in Gauteng have outraged MEC for community safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.
In the first incident, a 17-year-old was kidnapped on December 1 in Croydon in Edenvale.
According to Nkosi-Malobane, the kidnappers demanded a ransom of R10,000. The family, who worked with hostage negotiators, paid R5,000 via e-wallet to the kidnappers. The boy was robbed of his cellphone, R450 and later dropped off unharmed in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. A case of kidnapping was opened at the Sebenza police station.
A day later on December 2, a six-year-old boy was kidnapped at Clayville extension 34 in Midrand. His kidnappers demanded a ransom of R15,000. Nkosi-Malobane said after the family paid an amount of R2,000, the child was dropped off at a KFC in Kaalfontein, Midrand. A case of kidnapping and extortion was opened at the Olifantsfontein police station.
On December 3, three boys aged 8 and 9, were kidnapped in Clayville extension 21. Nkosi-Malobane said the kidnappers drove a white Mazda 3 and had also demanded a ransom via e-wallet. The family paid R4,500 and the children were dropped off near a Sasol garage in Midrand. A case of kidnapping was opened at the Olifantsfontein police station.
She said in all three cases the children had not suffered any injuries.
Nkosi-Malobane urged parents to be extra vigilant during the festive season, and asked police to take swift action to catch the culprits.
"I have instructed the provincial police management to assign a top and well-established team of detectives to hunt down these criminals," she said.
"It is very important that these criminals must be brought to book swiftly to face the full might of the law. Children are supposed to be protected by everyone in society."
Dessie Rechner from the Pink Ladies, a missing children's organisation, said the more cases were reported, the easier it was for police to identify potential hot spots.
"Resources will then be applied for it. If no cases are reported, nobody is going to believe it," Rechner said.
Going into the festive season, Rechner urged parents to look after their children, especially the "little ones".
She said parents should teach children to "kick and scream as loud as they can" if someone tried to grab them in malls.
Rechner said parents should also start putting name tags on their children to make them easily identifiable.