Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Johannesburg - Children are being kidnapped for ransom in northern Ekurhuleni, Gauteng community safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said on Wednesday.

''I am deeply saddened about the recent incidents of kidnapping and extortion involving young children. These incidents happened within a space of three days and the modus operandi for demanding ransom seems to have been the driving force behind them,'' Nkosi-Malobane said in a statement.

''I have instructed the provincial police management to assign a team of detectives to stop and hunt down these criminals. It is very important that these criminals must be brought to the book swiftly to face the full might of law. Children are supposed to be protected by everyone in society.''

In the first case, a 17-year-old boy was kidnapped on 1 December in Croydon. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of R10 000. Nkosi-Malobane said the family managed to pay R5 000 through an e-wallet transaction. 

''The child was robbed of his cellphone and an amount of R450 before being dropped off in Hillbrow, Johannesburg. A case of kidnapping has been opened at Sebenza police station and investigations are currently underway.''

In another abduction, a six-year-old boy was kidnapped on 2 December 2018 in Clayville near Midrand. The parents were ordered to pay R15 000. They paid R2 000 and the child was later dropped off at a fast food restaurant in Kaalfontein  A case of kidnapping and extortion has been opened at the Olifantsfontein police station.  

The third incident took place on the 03 December also in Clayville, where three boys aged eight and nine years were kidnapped.  

''The suspects were using a white Mazda 3 and demanded ransom for the release of the children. The parents paid a total amount of R4 500 through an e-wallet transaction. After the payment was effected, the children were released and dropped off near the Sasol garage in Midrand.''

Cases of kidnapping are being investigated by the police. 

African News Agency/ANA