Durban man thankful for metro police rescue after 19-hour hostage ordeal
Durban - After 19 hours of being beaten and forced at gunpoint to extort money from family and friends a Bellair man is lucky to be alive and counts Durban’s metro police officers as his heroes.
Sibusiso Dlamini, 36, was alone at his girlfriend’s residence when there was a knock on the door at 3am last Tuesday.
“I heard my name called and I went to check who it was. That was when four men armed with guns, wearing masks, abducted me.”
Dlamini was taken to a river that remains unknown to him, where he begged for his life.
“They kept telling me different stories that my landlord, friends and work colleagues had arranged my kidnapping.”
From the river, he was taken to a dark room somewhere in Inanda.
“I was handcuffed in a dark room and then they began to make me phone loved ones to ask them for money. I phoned my dad, brother, two sisters, a friend and even a supplier for work.”
Dlamini would phone and ask for the money, but not give a reason as they threatened to kill him.
“I phoned my dad and asked for money, he said he would bring it to me and that was when I said no, which he found strange. I was beaten after every phone call from concerned loved ones who phoned after news spread that I was desperate and asking for money.”
Dlamini phoned a close friend, who also said he would bring the money to him, but he told the friend to go give the money to his father.
“I prayed they would know something was wrong. I have always been independent and never asked for a cent. They thankfully knew something was wrong when they decided to track my phone and saw I was in Inanda.”
His family went to Ntuzuma police station to report his kidnapping, but they were allegedly turned away for a lack of evidence.
They contacted a family friend who worked for the metro police, who then spoke to on-duty officers who began piecing together the puzzle.
“They worked with my family and I was so grateful. At this point, the kidnappers received about R11 400 that they withdrew from my account. This helped the metro cops set up a ransom exchange.”
But Dlamini was unaware of any rescue plans or that his family had any clue to what was happening.
A drop-off point was established where Dlamini’s friend would deliver the third batch of money to the kidnappers.
“I don’t know how they acted so fast, or how they were able to set it up, but once the suspect identified himself the officers pounced and asked where I was being held. I will never forget the face of that first officer who burst into the room, it was the first time I felt hope.”
Dlamini and his family are receiving counselling and living in fear.
“Not all suspects were arrested and they have all of my sensitive information, like where I lived and they had my laptop which had all my work details. The metro officers saved my life but I feel SAPS has dropped the ball. A week has passed and I have no feedback with the progress of my case. I am slowly losing faith in the justice system.”
Dlamini said as a gesture of gratitude he planned to hand over a cake emblazoned with the metro police logo to the officers on Tuesday. “I know it’s not much, but I want to show the officers how grateful I am.”
Metro police spokesperson Parboo Sewpersad said the rescue was a joint operation between the Rapid Response, Multi Operational Response, Freeway Patrol Unit and the Albert Park Suburbs members.
“Investigating kidnappings and finding the victims is not in our mandate, but these officers went above and beyond the call of duty. They followed and chased down leads and saved this man’s life. This shows the calibre of officers we have at the moment.”
Sewpersad said rescuing Dlamini was only possible because his family notified the authorities.