Johannesburg - The two recent hijackings, one of which led to the death of a little boy, and the other to the kidnapping of another, have prompted police to place a price on the heads of those suspected of carrying out the crimes.
On Sunday, Gauteng police offered two rewards each for information that could lead to the arrest and conviction of suspects in the hijackings involving the children.
Six-year-old Mongezi Phike was snatched during a hijacking of his father’s car last week.
He was found unharmed in Joburg after a week-long search.
He was in his father’s Nissan Sentra which was hijacked by four armed men in Bronkhorstspruit last Tuesday.
The boy’s father was assaulted, tied up and left for dead, but later found and taken to Bernice Samuel Hospital in Delmas.
Four-year-old Taegrin Morris was travelling in a VW Golf with his mother, father and sister in Reiger Park on Saturday night when the family was approached by three men. They ordered the family out of the car but Taegrin was left tangled in his seat belt. They drove off dragging him along, hanging from the car. He was killed.
A reward was also offered for the arrest of Jozi FM DJ Donald Sebolai, who allegedly murdered his girlfriend, Dolly Marawa, in Soweto last month.
Police said informers would not have access to rewards immediately after the arrests of suspected criminals.
But when are rewards offered?
Gauteng deputy police commissioner Major-General Tebello Mosikili said there was a procedure that was followed which determined which cases were allocated a reward. He said the case was weighed against certain criteria including the seriousness of a crime. “There are no exceptions to cases. Every case has the option of having a reward. The investigating officer has to apply for a reward on a case that he is handling.
“A committee at provincial level will determine if the cases (merit) a reward or not. How serious is the crime? How urgent is the matter? What are the trends? Then a points system is used, and based on the points, the committee will either approve or decline the application,” she said.
Apart from the urgency, Mosikili said rewards could also be offered if investigators were experiencing difficulties making progress in cases. Sebolai, the Soweto DJ, was arrested on July 8 after police received a tip-off of his whereabouts.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said police were still in the process of determining the identity of the informer who led them to making the arrest before they could make the payment.
“We have a lot of applications for that case. A lot of people called in saying they saw him at different places, so we are processing their applications and investigating their claims before rewarding the right person,” he said.
Asked what would happen if multiple informers were eligible for the reward, he said, “we can only award the person who gave us information that lead to the arrest”.
However, it is not as simple as that. Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said the processes could be lengthy. “Before a reward is paid out, we have to ensure that there is a successful arrest, positive identification of the suspect and a successful conviction, but it all depends on a lot of things,” Dlamini said.
“Police appeal to anyone with information to about crime to call Crime Stop at 086 001 0111.
“Details may be forwarded by SMS to Primedia Crime Line at 32211 at all hours,” he said.