The kidnapping of the four Moti brothers in October 2021 has evolved into a slew of reports of dodgy dealings and purposeful lack of cooperation with police in the latest update.
One week after it was revealed the Moti family had moved to Dubai, information that the family have settled and do not intend on returning to South Africa anytime soon was revealed by eNCA reporter Barry Bateman.
A statement from the Moti brothers’ father, Naazim was then later circulated on Sunday afternoon, the first since the kidnapping ordeal last year.
Naazim said his family had been silent due to “fear of reprisal” should they speak out, and that they had to make the decision to relocate to Dubai to ensure their safety.
Naazim also reporteldy dropped a bombshell, saying media reports about the interdict issued against police was “a complete falsehood”.
He said the family hoped to one day return to South Africa, but that the boys needed time to heal from their ordeal.
Kids already in school
Bateman painted a timeline on Sunday morning, in which it is reported that the six Moti family members, Zidan (7), Zayyad (11), Alaan (13) and Zia (15), father Naazim and mother Shakira left South Africa on 1 December.
At the time, intense travel restrictions were imposed on South Africa, which meant they could not immediately get a flight into Dubai.
Instead, Bateman said, the family flew to Nairobi, Kenya, where they bided their time until restrictions were lifted.
Since their departure, it was reported the boys had already been placed in school in Dubai, showing they had no intention of returning.
The abruptly permanent move comes after reports that an interdict had been instituted by the family preventing police from interviewing the children or any members of the family.
This was first revealed to eNCA by police’s Lieutenant Colonel Robert Netshiunda last week.
“Without the statement from the victims themselves, without the buy-in and support of the family, we cannot do anything,” Netshiunda told eNCA.
The alleged interdict was later confirmed by national police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, but requests for copies have not yet been granted.
Police minister Bheki Cele also said last week the interdict was being regarded as “noncooperation, rather than the obstruction of justice”, but said tactics could be changed in future.
The interdict was also reportedly instituted on an ex parte basis, giving police no chance to oppose it. A future date for police to make opposing submissions are reportedly in the works, but no clarity has been provided yet.
R50 million ransom
After the four brothers were released unharmed on 11 November 2021, News24 reported that a R50 million ransom was allegedly paid in cash in exchange for the brothers’ safe return – a claim the family denied.
However, a source close to the investigation has told City Press that the kidnapping arose after a money transfer gone wrong, and involved the Moti’s UK-based uncle.
Police were reportedly shut out of investigations regarding the kidnapping early on, and were allegedly not even involved in negotiations for the boys’ safe return.
This, the source said, was all done by the uncle, including securing the R50 million ransom.
Frustrated task teams appointed to assist the family in getting the brothers home eventually secured a search and seizure warrant for the Moti’s Polokwane home, Bateman said.
In the raid, several devices were confiscated and evidence gathered.
Following the raid, the interdict was instituted, according to reports.
In an attempt to gain clarity on the issue, both City Press and eNCA reached out to the Moti’s family spokesperson, Keshia Patchiappen. She said she no longer had a mandate to talk to the press, and referred eNCA to a Mr Osman.
Osman told the broadcaster although he was not the family spokesperson, he could reveal the family would release a statement soon.
The Citizen has reached out to Brigadier Naidoo for confirmation on the interdict against police. Updates will follow as more information is made available.
Compiled by Nica Richards.