Police intensify search for camper who vanished at Limpopo game lodge, three arrested for kidnapping

Vehicle with flashing police lights

Police have arrested three people, and charged them with kidnapping after a visitor at the AM game lodge in Limpopo, Maduvula Norman Hlatshwayo vanished in January. File Picture

Published Feb 9, 2024


Three people, aged between 37 and 45, have been arrested in connection with the alleged kidnapping of a 51-year-old man which happened at AM lodge game farm in Hoedspruit, outside Phalaborwa.

The victim, Maduvula Norman Hlatshwayo went hunting with his friends at the game lodge on January 10, and they intended to camp at the venue for a few days.

“It is further alleged on the third day (on January 12) at about 11am, the trio were spotted by game rangers who fired some gunshots and further caught them. However, the other two friends were released, but the victim (Hlatshwayo) has since disappeared,” Limpopo police spokesperson, Colonel Malesela Ledwaba said.

The matter was later reported to the police and on Wednesday, an extensive search operation was conducted at the game lodge premises by the police.

Hlatshwayo was still not found.

The investigation continued, and the following day, on Thursday, police arrested three suspects in connection with the disappearance of Hlatshwayo. The three have been charged with kidnapping.

The arrested trio are on Friday expected to appear before the Hoedspruit Magistrate's Court.

Meanwhile, acting provincial commissioner of police in Limpopo, Major General Jan Scheepers has urged the investigation team to leave no stone unturned in uncovering what transpired to Hlatshwayo, and to ensure that justice is served.

Police appealed to anyone with information that can assist in their investigation to contact the Crime Stop on the toll-free number 086-001-0111, go to the nearest police station or use the My SAPS App.

Police are appealing for information after a visitor at the AM game lodge in Limpopo, Maduvula Norman Hlatshwayo vanished in January. File Picture

In June, IOL reported that police in Limpopo had launched a manhunt for perpetrators who allegedly kidnapped a well-known businessman in Burgersfort.

“It is reported that the businessman was at one of his filling stations when the incident occurred in Burgersfort,” Ledwaba said at the time.

“According to the information available at this stage, a taxi driver was confronted and a firearm was pointed at him by unknown male suspect who demanded car keys, while the five unknown male suspects accosted the businessman.”

The assailants subsequently forced the businessman into a black Volkswagen Golf 7 GTI.

Police said the Volkswagen Golf drove away from the scene, followed by a white Mercedes-Benz vehicle.