Ekurhuleni - Gauteng MEC for Community Safety has urged parents to be cautious following three incidents of child abduction and extortion in Ekurhuleni since the beginning of this month.
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.
"I am deeply saddened. These incidents happened within a space of three days and the modus operandi for demanding ransom seems to have been the driving force behind them."
The first incident is alleged to have happened on December 1 where a 17-year-old boy was kidnapped at Kromiet street, Croydon. Nkosi-Malobane said the kidnappers demanded a R10 000 ransom.
"Working closely with hostage negotiators, the family managed to pay an amount of R5 000 through an e-wallet transaction. The child was robbed of his cellphone and an amount of R450,00 before being dropped off in Hillbrow. A case of kidnapping has been opened at Sebenza police station and investigations are currently underway.
She said the second incident happened the following day where a six-year-old boy was kidnapped at Clayville Ext 34. The kidnappers are alleged to have demanded a R15 000 ransom but the family paid R2 000 again through an e-wallet transaction.
"The child was later dropped off at Kaalfontein KFC. A case of kidnapping and extortion has been opened at the Olifantsfontein police station.
"The third incident took place on December 3 2018 around 4pm in Clayville Ext 21 where three boys aged eight and nine years respectively were kidnapped. The suspects were using a white Mazda 3 and demanded ransom for the release of the children. The parents paid a total amount of R4500 through e-wallet transaction.
"After the payment was effected, the children were released and dropped off near the Sasol garage in Midrand. A kidnapping case has since been opened at Olifantsfontein police station and investigations is underway."
Nkosi-Malobane said that in all the cases, the children were taken to hospital for medical examination and the results showed no signs of injuries. They have been re-united with their families, she said.
"I have instructed the provincial police management to assign a top and well-established team of detectives to stop hunt down these criminals. "We cannot fold our arms and allow criminals to instill fear in parents and to deprive children of their rights to live, play freely in their communities, ”said Nkosi-Malobane.
"It is very important that these criminals must be brought to the book swiftly to face the full might of law. Children are supposed to be protected by everyone in society."
Nkosi-Malobane said the safety of Gauteng citizens continues to be a matter of priority to the Gauteng Provincial Government.