Durban - Police fugitive and New Germany resident Leon van Rensburg, who allegedly staged a fake hijacking and then went “on the run” from the law, has been moved from Cape Town to a Durban hospital.
While police would not comment on the nature of Van Rensburg’s illness, SAPS spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane on Friday confirmed that Van Rensburg, 52, was back in Durban, but said police would wait until his condition improved before charging him.
Meanwhile, victims of actual hijackings and their families have expressed outrage over the bizarre case. Durban businesswoman Michelle Taylor was hijacked, put in the boot of her car and held hostage in an isolated area 16 years ago, and has had to deal with post-traumatic stress since then.
“It made me angry seeing someone riding on the coattails of what has happened to so many South Africans.
“Don’t make up stories about what other people have had to live through. A hijack victim is living with a fear nobody can understand unless you have been through it.
“It was a defining moment in my life and I have had to make a conscious decision to not be a victim.”
Carol van Tonder, of the Durban North/Umhlanga Crisis Team which assists victims of violent crime, said whenever hijack victims read stories of hijacking incidents, they became anxious and they relived their own experiences.
“If you are having problems, reach out to an organisation for help. You do not have to go to such extreme limits [as Van Rensburg],” she said.
She also highlighted the ripple effect of trauma for the family of the victim, including Van Rensburg’s family.
“He has put his whole family through trauma, from being invaded by police to all the comments on Facebook. It’s not nice,” she said.
Meanwhile, Brooke Carlyle, 22, the daughter of Durban North businesswoman Dorothy Carlyle, 60, who was hijacked in her driveway a week before the Van Rensburg incident, said Van Rensburg’s actions were insensitive.
“It was exactly a week after it had happened to my mom.
“When she went missing, I felt as though I had been stabbed in my stomach as I didn’t know what to do with myself and felt helpless. She’s all I’ve got. To be honest it’s everyone’s worst nightmare come true,” said Carlyle. Carlyle was rescued from the boot of her car outside a tavern in KwaMashu after a nine-hour ordeal during which she had been tied up, blindfolded and stabbed when she tried to straighten her legs. Five suspects, including three teenage girls, were arrested in connection with her kidnapping and appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court this week.
Van Rensburg initially went missing two weeks ago, with his daughter receiving an emergency SMS from him saying “help hijacked”. A massive police search was launched and Van Rensburg’s disappearance went viral on social media with a description of his vehicle being put out, alongside lots of prayers and support from across Durban for the missing man.
Van Rensburg reappeared two days later and made a statement to police about the alleged hijacking. But police found discrepancies in his statement and, after further investigation, verified that Van Rensburg had been holed up in a hostel in Underberg. A warrant for his arrest was issued and Van Rensburg disappeared for a second time. At the beginning of this week police confirmed he had been located in a Cape Town hospital.