Communities are living in fear of kidnappings such as the Moti brothers’ case in October following more reports of school pupils going missing.
However, lecturer in forensic criminalistics in the department of social work and criminology at the University of Pretoria, Harriet Klopper, cautioned against the interpretation that there was suddenly a rise in abductions.
“What happened to the brothers in Polokwane was a professional and well-planned kidnapping for ransom. We should refrain from confusing last week’s incidents with the Moti case,” Klopper said.
Last week Police Minister Bheki Cele said a total of 2,000 such cases were reported to the police between July and September this year. In July, 93 kidnapping cases were reported, with 175 more in August and 177 in September. Gauteng accounted for 729 kidnapping cases, followed by Kwa-Zulu-Natal with 407.
Cele said the majority of kidnapping cases were hijacking-related. Institute for Security Studies analyst Dr Johan Burger said it was still too early to tell if the kidnapping statistics were rising.
“If you look at the police statistics on the police website you will see that by far the majority of the ‘kidnappings’ have to do with car hijackings,” he said.
Burger noted that only 52 of the more than 1 600 cases have to do with ransoms.
Car hijackings increased by 93% between 2011/12 and 2019/20. Klopper said in general it was positive that parents and caregivers were being more vigilant after the Moti brothers’ abduction. “Our children deserve our protection always and we should not need the Moti brothers to remind us of that,” she said.
Gauteng education department spokesperson Steve Mabona welcomed the safe return of two Grade 10 girl pupils aged 15 and 16.
The pupils from Hoërskool Straatpresident CR Swart in Pretoria were allegedly kidnapped last Tuesday.
Mabona said the girls were assisted by residents to get home the following morning.