Police are investigating the kidnapping of man at Johannesburg Botanical Gardens

Police are investigating the kidnapping of an elderly man who was taken by three men and put into a white panel van.

Update: February 11

No contact by kidnappers has yet been made with the family or police in connection with the 85-year-old man who was kidnapped in front of eye-witnesses from the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens yesterday.

Owner of SCP Security Clive Maher confirms that there has been no movement in the case overnight.

“I am of course in touch with the family but there is no good news yet, but no bad news either.

”I am unsure what to make of that at this stage. There has been no contact made, no ransom demand or any lead whatsoever.”

He and other law enforcement officials from specialised task teams are meeting later today to plot a way forward.

Ward 88 councillor Nicolene Jonker says it is devastating for something like this to happen in the ward. “What a frightening incident, I hope the gentleman is found soon and unharmed.”

Initial report: February 10

An 85-year-old retired businessman was kidnapped from the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia by three men this morning.

While his identity has not yet been confirmed, SCP Security confirmed it is assisting the Parkview police with the case.

According to the owner of SCP Security, Clive Maher, the man regularly walks his dogs at the botanical gardens, and this morning was no different. “At approximately 09:50 this morning, the man was taken away in a white panel van of sorts… The registration has already been confirmed to have been cloned, so it is unlikely they will keep those plates on the vehicle.”

He says the motive for the kidnapping is unknown at this stage. The victim is not known to be involved in any undesirable behaviour or business and is happily retired, he adds.

Eyewitnesses in the park observed the kidnapping taking place and identified the car and part of the vehicle registration details.

SCP Security was able to uncover the full registration details through the licence plate recognition (LPR) camera network and is monitoring the LPR network across Gauteng for any possible updates, which will be followed up by Parkview police.

“We are working very closely with the Parkview police and have one of our specialised task teams working this case to ensure his safe return. We are confident we will find him,” says Maher.

While neither the man’s family nor the police have consented to him being identified, Northcliff Melville Times has asked the latter for more information and will keep readers updated as soon as it becomes available.

Maher is in close contact with family members, who are currently speaking to police, and will provide any updates as soon as there is anything new to report.

“The man parked his old Mercedes-Benz in the parking area this morning, which he does most days,” says Maher.

The family has confirmed to Maher that the dogs were safely recovered at the scene and are being cared for.

Parkview police are unable to comment on this story directly and directed Northcliff Melville Times to the provincial spokesperson, Captain Jeff Phora, who has not yet responded to requests for information.

Parkview CPF deputy chairperson Wayne Lurie confirmed that the incident happened, and shared the organisation’s offer of support. “Our thoughts go out to the victim and his family. “We as the CPF will assist in any way we can and our victim support team is on hand to assist the family if needed. We hope for a swift resolution.”

City Parks and Zoo (JPCZ) spokesperson Jenny Moodley says that the entity is extremely concerned and is working closely with the Parkview police and will assist in any way possible.

Although the entity is unable to comment on the incident itself, as that would need to come directly from police, Moodley said that she was concerned and looking closely towards the outcome of the situation.

“Park rangers have already been on-site, along with a contingent of private security at the Olifants Road entrance, the admin block and the main parking area,” says Moodley.

Further to Moodley’s comments, the managing director of JPCZ, Thanduxolo Mendrew, added his voice to the messages of concern. “This is a really unfortunate incident. We are always concerned with the safety of members of the public and any incident that takes place in our spaces is a great concern to all of us.”

More information will be published once it becomes available.

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