More immigrants being kidnapped for ransom in Eastern Cape - Hawks

| Early Breakfast host Africa Melane chats to Eastern Cape provincial spokesperson for the Hawks, Captain Yolisa Mgolodela.

  • There's been a rapid rise in cases of immigrants kidnapped for ransom in the Eastern Cape

  • Provincial Hawks spokesperson Yoliswa Mgolodela says most of the cases have taken place in the rural parts of the province

  • Half of the 14 cases reported in recent months are before the court

  • Kidnappers have asked for as much as R20 million to secure the release of the victims



FILE: Spaza shop owner. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

The Hawks is investigating what seems to be a spike in immigrant kidnappings in the Eastern Cape.

Provincial Hawks spokesperson Yoliswa Mgolodela says there have been at least 14 cases of immigrants kidnapped for ransom in recent months.

According to Mgolodela, most of the cases have taken place in the rural parts of the province such as Ngcobo, Butterworth, Cofimvaba, Tsomo, Nqamakwe, and Cala.

There have also been some cases reported in busier hubs such as Mthatha, East London, King Williams Town, and Queens Town.

It's understood that most of the victims are usually business owners who run outlets such as spaza shops and hardware stores.

They are mostly from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Pakistan, Mgolodela says.

Of the 14 cases currently under investigation, seven are before the court while the rest are awaiting a decision on whether or not to prosecute.

Mgolodela claims ransom demands have been as high as R20 million but in reality, ransom payments have ranged from R60,000 to R800,000 with the help of police negotiators.

She argues that some of the kidnappings may be motivated by the high competition for business in the province.

"This has taken the province by storm... investigators have to move up and down in order to control the situation because the conduct is mushrooming at a very high rate", Mgolodela explains.

We are talking about Pakistani nationals, Ethiopians, Somalians that have been kidnapped.

Yolisa Mgolodela, Eastern Cape provincial spokesperson - Hawks

These are allegations because no case has been finalised or decided yet. So, some are still awaiting DPP decision before trial, and a few have started being on trial process.

Yolisa Mgolodela, Eastern Cape provincial spokesperson - Hawks

It's not that it's the South Africans who are targeting the immigrants, [among] themselves there are allegations that they are kidnapping each other. So, it's on both ways.

Yolisa Mgolodela, Eastern Cape provincial spokesperson - Hawks

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : More immigrants being kidnapped for ransom in Eastern Cape - Hawks

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