The kidnapped Moti boys – Zidan, Zayyad, Alaan and Zia. Pictures: Supplied.
The kidnapped Moti boys – Zidan, Zayyad, Alaan and Zia. Pictures: Supplied.

A clean-out of the police is needed to end the wave of kidnappings and criminal impunity

By Time of article published Nov 20, 2021

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Editorial

Johannesburg - The Moti boys are back home with their family in Polokwane after a harrowing ordeal that lasted almost a month. Apparently, their father paid a ransom of R50 million to get them back.

This week a schoolgirl was abducted outside her primary school in Mayfair. She still hasn’t been found. Her abductors brazenly walked up to her in public, armed with assault weapons. They called her name and threatened to shoot anyone else who intervened.

It now appears that this is not new, but merely a trend that is escalating exponentially. Businessmen are often held to ransom, but that doesn’t make the news. Now that the target has shifted to children for further coercion to make their parents pay up, we are starting to learn the true extent of what is happening.

It’s an incredibly difficult and potentially catastrophic trend. Our police have to protect all of us. The truth is that they are failing. The top echelons of the national police leadership are either compromised or emasculated, and the consequences are clear to see, whether it’s their criminal inaction during the July insurrection or the woeful handling of an unruly hotel guest in Muldersdrift last week.

The spate in kidnappings is a direct consequence of inefficient and, often, incompetent policing, coupled to a justice system that is overwhelmed, over-stretched and under-capacitated. Justice is not just delayed, it’s often denied.

It is into this vacuum that the kidnappers have stepped, able to operate seemingly with impunity. The Moti children might be home, but their attackers are still at large. Who knows when they will strike next? Even worse, who knows how many others will be emboldened to mimic them and earn a king’s ransom for a month’s babysitting?

It has to stop. President Cyril Ramaphosa has to act. He can start by firing Police Minister Bheki Cele and cleaning out the Augean stables at national police HQ.

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