Four men appeared in Mdantsane Magistrate’s Court in the Eastern Cape on Friday after they were arrested earlier this week by members of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).
Sinethemba Mlota, 29, Habtamu Alemu, 30, Abulela Geli, 33, and Thandile Nqothi, 40, were charged with possession of unlicensed firearms, possession of ammunition, and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
The provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, Captain Yolisa Mgolodela said the group was arrested by members of the Kidnapping Task Team on Wednesday, August 16.
"On August 16, 2023, information was received about four suspects who were planning to kidnap a victim around the Kidd’s Beach area. They were reported to be driving a blue VW Polo with a specified registration number. Three of the suspects were reported to be armed with firearms.
"At about 18:00 in the evening, the said vehicle was spotted and stopped at Kidd’s Beach. Upon the vehicle search, the occupants were found in possession of three 9mm firearms with serial numbers filed off and 9mm ammunition.
"The suspects were apprehended on the spot, and the exhibits seized," Mgolodela said.
The head of the Hawks in the Eastern Cape, Major General Mboiki Ngwenua, expressed his optimism for a breakthrough in the scourge of kidnapping in the province.
The matter against the accused has been postponed until August 30 for a formal bail application.
The group is to remain behind bars.