MEC Dan Plato

Cape Town - Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato will use his next meeting with Police Minister Bheki Cele to discuss the "seemingly increasing trend" of the kidnapping of prominent businessmen, ostensibly for the extortion of ransom money. 

"I am concerned about the seemingly increasing number of kidnappings in the province involving prominent business people, for the apparent extortion of large sums of money from the family for their release," Plato said in a statement. 

"Kidnappings in the province cannot become the new lucrative and profitable criminal venture."

He said the recent kidnapping of Liaqat Parker had brought the number of apparent ransom extortion kidnappings to four cases over the last two years.

"Though this might not seem like a lot, the rand value money involved in the previous cases may be very lucrative if it is a lone syndicate operating, or might even seem enticing to those criminals always looking for the next opportunity."

The police need to ensure that those responsible were arrested, he said.

"The public, and particularly business leaders working hard in this province to help build our economy, need to be assured that the police is doing everything in their power to prevent these kidnappings and to ensure those responsible face their day in court," Plato said. 

Plato would be writing to Western Cape police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula, requesting that he assign the "top provincial detectives to uncover the extent of criminal involvement and interconnectedness between these cases".

"We need to unmask those responsible and ensure they receive their day in court to face the full might of the law. This will unnerve those contemplating similar crimes, because they will be caught and will go to jail.

"I will use the audience I have with National Police Minister, Bheki Cele, later in the month to discuss this seemingly increasing trend, and possible measures both my department and the police can take," Plato said. 

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Cape Argus