Most kidnapping victims knew their abductor, says Police Ministry

In most of the kidnapping cases reported in the last financial year, the victim knew their abductor.

This was revealed in the latest crime statistics released by the Police Ministry on Tuesday.


Police said in the 544 police kidnapping cases they investigated this year, 292 of the victims knew the attackers while 252 said these were strangers to them.

The bulk of these attacks (146 cases) were as a result of controlling behaviour by the attacker which was usually fueled by jealousy, anger or even debt, the police said.

A total of 121 people were kidnapped as part of a sexual attack.

Seventy-five people were kidnapped following robberies or hijackings while 79 were kidnapped in mob justice incidents.

Of all the kidnapping cases which were reported, it was only in 10 incidents where a ransom was demanded.

In one of the most recent kidnapping-for-cash incidents, Gauteng businessman Shiraz Gathoo was kidnapped on the N12 in a bogus police roadblock in March.

It was reported at the time that his abductors had demanded a R50 million ransom for his release.

It was not immediately clear whether the family of the owner of the Devland Cash and Carry wholesaler business had paid the ransom but he was released last week and reunited with his family.

In April this year‚ the Sunday Times reported that more than 40 businessmen have been kidnapped in South Africa over the past three years‚ with sophisticated syndicates demanding ransoms for their safe return.

The scourge has gotten so bad that the police and Hawks have set up a special task team to combat the crime.

Meanwhile, police say of all the kidnapping cases they handled this year, they had not established a motive for at least 85 of them.

Others, however, were related to labour disputes, taxi clashes and domestic related violence.

Eight of the kidnappings reported in the last financial year have resulted in murder.

Another kidnapping which made headlines earlier this year was that of Gabisile Shabani from Witbank in Mpumalanga who was forcefully taken from her home along with her 15-month-old nephew Nkosikhona.

It was later learnt that Gabisile, who had albinism, had been kidnapped and murdered for her body parts.

Her nephew had been mistaken for another toddler in the house who was also living with albinism.

He had been killed and thrown into a stream on the N4 between Witbank and Pretoria.

While their alleged abductors have since been arrested, they are yet to go on trial.

-Naledi Shange


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