Headline News
18 March 2024

Alarming increase in kidnappings 
Recent police statistics have unveiled a disturbing increase in kidnapping incidents, with a staggering 4,000 individuals reported kidnapped across the country within the July to September 2023 timeframe. These are only the reported cases. These abductions, often motivated by ransom demands, human trafficking, or extortion, are becoming increasingly common. 

Mike Bolhuis, Specialist Investigators into Serious Violent, Serious Economic Crimes & Serious Cybercrimes, highlights the alarming trend: “Against a backdrop of economic hardship and political turmoil, holding people for ransom has become increasingly lucrative.”

The reluctance of victims, particularly parents, to seek police assistance due to fears for their children’s safety complicates efforts to combat this crime.

Shockingly, Bolhuis also revealed: “In the past 10 years, kidnappings sky-rocketed by 183% from 3,832 in 2012/13 to 10,826 in 2021/22.” 

Disturbing voice notes on social media
In Rustenburg, a chilling exchange captured in voice notes between a man and a woman discussing the abduction of two children for financial gain has raised alarms. Shared within a local safety WhatsApp group, the conversation reveals a sinister plan to kidnap the children, with no intention of their return, for a sum of R30,000. The authenticity of the voice notes remains unverified, yet the content is a stark reminder of the reality of child abduction in South Africa.

The people in the voice notes chatted in a way that was weirdly polite, in well-spoken Setswana, almost like discussing what to make for dinner that evening.

Teenagers kidnapped in broad daylight
In a recent incident in Brits, two teenagers, cousins Zahraa Mohammed (17) and Bataviya Mohammed (19), fell victim to kidnapping in a meticulously orchestrated attack on 6 March 2024. The Brits Police Department has initiated a search for three suspects involved in this daytime abduction, illustrating the bold nature of kidnappers.

Lieutenant colonel Amanda Funani reports that the cousins were ambushed while driving, forced into another vehicle, and taken by the kidnappers, leaving behind a scene of chaos and concern. 

The police are urgently calling on anyone with information that could help crack the case to get in touch. If you know something, no matter how small it might seem, please reach out to the station commander of Brits, brigadier Ellen Emmanuel, directly at 082 447 7447. Your tip could be the key to solving this and bringing the teenagers home safely.

Urgent call for community awareness and prevention
As kidnapping cases continue to surge, the importance of community awareness and preventive measures cannot be overstated. Mike Bolhuis offers his expertise for those seeking advice, security, or investigation services in these trying times.

Tips for parents 
For parents, ensuring the safety of children who travel to and from school without adult supervision is paramount. Strategies such as organising walking in groups, maintaining open lines of communication, and employing technology like phone trackers can significantly enhance children’s safety. Building a safe, communicative environment at home is equally crucial, as it encourages children to share their concerns and experiences, including any suspicious activities they may encounter.

In the face of this growing threat, collective action, awareness, and preparedness are key to safeguarding our communities and preventing the plans of those who seek to do harm.

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