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Shireen Essop’s family trying to move on after kidnap confirmed

The family of kidnap victim Shireen Essop have said they are desperate to move on from the ordeal. Picture: Supplied

The family of kidnap victim Shireen Essop have said they are desperate to move on from the ordeal. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 28, 2022

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Cape Town - The family of kidnap victim Shireen Essop have said they are desperate to move on from the ordeal as a Malawian man suspected of selling her phone has been charged with theft.

Mussa Wilesi, 28, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court last week after he was arrested for possession of a stolen item related to Essop’s cellphone.

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Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa confirmed that Wilesi was arrested as part of the police’s investigation into the kidnap.

Essop disappeared while driving home from work on Weltevreden Road in Browns Farm, Philippi, on May 23 and was returned to her family after three weeks in captivity.

“Organised Crime detectives armed with information from intelligence arrested a 28-year-old suspect on a charge of possession of stolen property believed to be that of kidnapping victim Shireen Essop,” Potelwa said.

It was explained in court that Essop’s cellphone had been traced to an address in Hanover Street, District Six, where the person who had the cellphone informed police that he bought it from Wilesi, who was subsequently charged.

During proceedings, Wilesi’s lawyer, Mongezi Somagaca, objected to the postponement of his client’s bail application and told the court that the State had ample time to verify Wilesi’s Kloof Street address.

He also clarified to the court that Wilesi was in the country on asylum-seeker status, which expired last year.

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Magistrate Ronel Oliver postponed the matter to July 1 for further bail information.

Shireen’s brother-in-law, Hameed Essop, said: “We want to move on beyond what happened. For us, the focus was just on getting her back, and we got her back. It’s pointless living our lives in this past bubble, so we just let the law take its course,” he said.

Hameed confirmed that Essop was taken for a medical examination and gave a statement to police about her ordeal. He praised investigators for their work in the matter and said he understood the public outcry for information.

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“I think the public in general, I won’t say they have the right to know, but I understand their concern, I understand where it stems from.”

Essop was apparently kidnapped by three suspects and the police have not ruled out further arrests.

After her release she was was found at a petrol station. Essop was overlooked by police officers who were engaging with the Klipfontein Neighbourhood Watch, but was recognised by one of its members.

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