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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Wits student’s alleged kidnappers remain behind bars

They appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday and were denied bail.

Seven men accused of kidnapping a student from the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) will remain behind bars.

They appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where they were denied bail.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonondwane said the men are facing charges of kidnapping, attempted murder, and extortion after they allegedly demanded a ransom of R30 000 from the victim’s family.

Bail application

The accused are Sanele Ndlovu (26), Vikani Khanyeza (28), Sohollo Khumalo (26), Sphamandla Mavundla (33), Lungisani Shabalala (33), Thulani Mazibuko (23) and Khayelihle Zulu (24).

The matter has been postponed to 15 November for further investigations.

During their bail application, acting regional court prosecutor Adolphus Mukwevho argued the state witnesses were known to the accused and the family of the complainant previously received threats from the accused and are living in fear.

Mukwevho further added that the interest of justice does not permit their release on bail as that could undermine the proper administration of justice.

ALSO READ: Student lured online rescued after R30k ransom request


Mjonondwane said the accused allegedly lured the complainant to a date, via LGBTQI+ dating app called Grindr.

“The accused held the complainant hostage and demanded a ransom of R30 000 from his family.

“The accused sent horrific images of the Wits student tied up and badly assaulted to his family, in an attempt to extort money from them,” said Mjonondwane.

She said the complainant’s roommate reported him missing on 19 September 2023.

“Investigations were conducted and led the police to one of the ATMs the accused had used to withdraw money. The police pounced on one of the accused while he was withdrawing the ransom. The accused led the police to Denver men’s hostel where the complainant was kept.

“On arrival at the hostel, six more men were arrested. The complainant was found unconscious and was rushed to the hospital, where he is receiving treatment,” said Mjonondwane.

ALSO READ: Nine suspects, including cop, arrested for running kidnapping syndicate targetting Portuguese businessmen

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