File picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – A Langa family has issued a desperate plea for the safe return of their abducted son, who they last saw two weeks ago.

They have accused the police of dragging their feet in searching for 27-year-old Lonwabo Ngqokolayi from Zone 14 in Langa.

He disappeared after he was last seen shoved into the boot of a vehicle by armed men for allegedly stealing a weave. 

A family friend whose name is being withheld for fear of victimisation said threats were made on Ngqokolayi’s life before he was abducted.

“On November 23, two women arrived at his mother’s house to report that Lonwabo had robbed one of them of a weave she had been wearing. 

"He denied the accusations and claimed that it was his first time he had even seen the girls and that maybe they confused him with someone else. 

"They told his mother that they would return with someone who would make him tell the truth.”

She said later that afternoon the women returned with a man who demanded to see Ngqokolayi, who had already left the house. 

The man allegedly threatened the mother and left a message for her son that if he didn’t return the weave he allegedly stole, there would be trouble.

“While Lonwabo was standing outside his wendy house with a friend at night the man, who other residents knew, approached them with three other unknown men. 

"He (Ngqokolayi) had not received the threat messages left to his mother, so when the man asked if they knew Lonwabo, he replied that it’s him.

“They dragged him into a vehicle they had parked nearby, shoved him into the boot and the vehicle sped off. That was the last time anyone saw him,” the family friend said.

Ngqokolayi’s friend managed to escape and tell the family of what had happened.

“Another witness was a passer-by who saw him being forced into the vehicle but was afraid to intervene after seeing the men were armed.

"The following day her mother reported the incident but it seems like his case is not being taken seriously.

“We think it’s because he was known to be a drug user so it’s believed he did steal and sell the weave, but he just returned from rehab and was trying to turn his life around. 

"His mother is really devastated and has been given the runaround by police. We want to know what those men did to him. 

"Even if it’s true that maybe he did rob the weave, you cannot harm or kill someone for that. Life is irreplaceable,” she said.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said the search for Ngqokolayi was ongoing. He confirmed a missing person’s case was registered on November 24.

Meanwhile, the whereabouts of a man allegedly abducted in Woodstock earlier this week are unknown and despite multiple witnesses who spoke to the Cape Times and footage of the incident, police said they were not investigating.

Witnesses said they had tried to report the kidnapping to police and supplied them with the footage of the incident on December 3 on the corner of Sir Lowry Road and Basket Lane.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said: “Cape Town Central and Woodstock SAPS have no records yet of the incident you are referring to in your enquiry.”

The witnesses, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation said the incident happened in broad daylight and terrified onlookers.

They described how a man was bundled into a car by a group of men who alighted from a white Toyota Corolla.

“Four occupants exited the car and grabbed the unknown person, attempted to put him in the boot of their vehicle. 

"A crowd tried to intervene, but (one of the suspects) pointed a gun while (two other suspects) shoved the unknown person on to the back seat where (a fourth suspect) was watching,” a witness said.

The video clip which the Cape Times has seen shows the unknown man being carried by two men on to the back seat of the car while a crowd gathered.

“We tried to ask the men who forced him into the car what they were doing but they wouldn’t answer. It was very scary,” a witness said. The vehicle was seen speeding off in the direction of the N2.

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of Ngqokolayi can anonymously contact Langa detectives on 021 695 8000, call Crime Stop on 086 001 0111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.

Cape Times