File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg - Gauteng police have urged parents and their children to be on the lookout for a white Mazda 3 suspected to be linked to a spate of kidnappings across the province recently. 

On Thursday, Gauteng Community Safety MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane said she was worried about escalating numbers of kidnappings of young children in the province after five children were kidnapped in three days and their parents forced to pay ransom.

The MEC cited numerous areas in Ekurhuleni targeted by alleged kidnappers, but Gauteng police spokesperson  Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said more incidents were reported in the City of Johannesburg. 

Peters, speaking to eNCA, said the first two happened in Olifantsfontein where two children were kidnapped and a ransom was demanded, which the parents paid a portion of.

"A third one was in Sebenza, same modus operandi, and then in Germiston also we had a kidnapping incident of three boys - aged 8, 11 and 14.

"Here they wanted R5 000 per child but the parents ended up paying R1 000 per child," she said.

Peters said the kidnappings appeared to be for monetary gain, as all the children were returned to their parents unharmed. 

She would also not be drawn into speculation that a syndicate behind the kidnappings, only saying there were "common denominators" to these incidents. 

"For now, I can confirm that there is a vehicle we are looking at. We've got the registration number," she said. 

She confirmed that it was a white Mazda 3 with a Gauteng registration. She urged parents to be on the look out for this vehicle and make sure their children are monitored while they are at work.