“The boys are traumatised and will need a lot of time to recover” - Moti family spokesperson

Three weeks after they were taken while enroute to school, the Moti boys are back with their family. File image.

Three weeks after they were taken while enroute to school, the Moti boys are back with their family. File image.

Published Nov 13, 2021


Johannesburg - As parent, Shakira and Nazim Moti breathed a huge sigh of relief at the return of their four sons this week. They say they now have their work cut out to ensure the boys feel safe and are able to recuperate properly after a harrowing few weeks.

Moti family spokesperson Keshia Patchiappen said the four boys, Zia, Alaan, Zayyad and Zidan Moti returned home in an extremely traumatised state on Wednesday evening.

“The boys are traumatised and will need a lot of time to recover,” Patchiappen told the Saturday Star.

“The family is committing all of their time and energy on creating a safe space for the boys to rest and recuperate.

“The family requests that their privacy is respected and upheld. They require time to process this harrowing experience.”

Zia, Alaan, Zayyad and little Zidan Moti were on their way to school in Polokwane at around 7am on Wednesday, October 20, when they were taken at gunpoint by their abductors.

A group of men with rifles and handguns cornered their vehicle and forcefully removed them.

The four boys were safely returned home on Wednesday night after they had been missing for about three weeks.

According to the police, they received a call from a resident in Vuwani, Limpopo, who told them the brothers arrived at their house, saying they were dropped off in a nearby road.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said the boys were dropped off between 10pm and 11pm.

“They made their way to the first house they found, and fortunately one of the children in that house immediately recognised the children as being the four boys reported as missing or abducted. They asked their parents to assist by calling the police and we were able to reunite the children with their parents,” he said.

Muslim youth from District Six held a special prayer service at Springfield Terrace in District six for the safe return of the missing Moti brothers. Two weeks ago seven gunmen attacked and kidnapped the Moti brothers — Zidan, 6, Zayyad, 11, Alaan, 13, and Zia, 15. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Patchiappen wasn’t able to confirm or deny whether the four boys had been harmed during their ordeal.

“Unfortunately, we cannot comment on this as these are sensitive details that pertain to the ongoing investigation,” said Patchiappen.

However, Naidoo told media this week that SAPS had arranged a doctor who confirmed that the children are in good health before they were handed over to their parents.

“The children also appeared to be in high spirits during the reunion with their parents.

“The children have not yet been interviewed. Investigators will arrange for the SAPS psychologists to assist with that,” Naidoo said.

Patchiappen added that parents Nazim and Shakira are relieved at the return of their sons, and have also thanked the South African community for their prayers.

“The relief that the boys are at home and safe is overwhelming. It has been a tremendously stressful and traumatic time for the family.

“The family is extremely grateful for the support of the community of Nirvana, and South Africa at large.

“They would like to thank all those who prayed and have shared their happiness and well-wishes regarding the safe return of the boys.”

The Moti family also say they were pleased with the way in which the police had handled the harrowing situation, and say they are now looking forward to justice being done.

“The family is ready to see justice done. Unfortunately we cannot comment on anything to do with the police investigation as it is still an ongoing process,” said Patchiappen.

She added that she was unable to reveal any details of what the boys had told the family about their ordeal.

Meanwhile, police say there have been no arrests so far in the case of the kidnapping of the four Moti brothers.

Police spokesperson General Samuel Manala told The Saturday Star that those responsible for abducting Zia, 15, Zayyad, 11, Alaan, 13, and Zidan, 7, three weeks ago while they were on their way to school have not yet been taken into custody.

“No arrests have been made yet but our investigations continue,” he said.

Manala added that the boys were in good health and that the police would continue to support them following their traumatic ordeal.

“They have been checked by a doctor and were not harmed during the kidnapping,” he explained.

“We also visited and spoke to them alongside a social worker, and counselling has been provided to them.”

The family has also appealed to the press and the public to take caution in sharing any unsubstantiated or misleading information regarding the case.

“As the investigation is ongoing, any speculation at this time could be harmful to the course of justice - the outcome of which could prevent this unscrupulous crime from happening to another family and their children,” said a family spokesperson.

The Saturday Star