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News: Three suspected North West hiking spot kidnappers arrested

Media Statement
South African Police Service
Office of the National Commissioner


A multidisciplinary team established to investigate Kidnappings in the North West Province wherein hitch-hikers were the main target, say they have broken the back of what appears to be a syndicate believed to be behind at least twelve cases in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District.

The syndicate which has been mostly operating in the Potchefstroom, Klerksdorp, Orkney and surrounding areas have been targeting members of the public who were hitch-hiking in these areas with their main target being mineworkers.  The syndicate would lure unsuspecting victims from hitch-hiking spots under the pretence of transporting them to their various destinations. Victims would then be robbed off their personal belongings, followed by ransom payment demands that were made to their families for their safe return. 

On Friday just after midnight, the team traced the suspects along the R502 road linking Potchefstroom and Orkney. Two foreign nationals aged 24 and 37 years of age were found travelling in a motor vehicle matching the description of a vehicle wanted in a case where a post office employee was kidnapped last Wednesday.

During the search of the vehicle, police discovered several item's belonging to a second victim who had been reported as Kidnapped on Thursday. In this matter, a ransom demand was also made to the family of the victim. The team immediately dispatched a search party to rescue the victim who was found at a stadium in Orkney.

Upon further investigation at identified addresses, police arrested another 57-year-old foreign national. At this address, police seized two other vehicles believed to have been utilized in the commission of other kidnapping cases as well as sixteen mobile phones believed to be belonging to victims in these cases.

During analysis of the modus operandi utilized by these suspects, police have positively linked them to the kidnapping of the post office employee who was released after the ransom payment was paid and at least 12 other Kidnapping cases where victims were robbed off their personal belongings and ransom demands made for the safe return of the victims. The possibility of effecting more arrests and linking these suspects to more cases cannot be ruled out.

The National Commissioner of the SAPS, General Khehla Sitole has commended the team led by the Provincial Commissioner in the North West, Lieutenant General Sello Kwena.

“The swift and collaborative approach by members of this multi-disciplinary team consisting of members of the North West Crime Intelligence, the Murder and Robbery unit, the Provincial Narcotics team, as well as visible policing teams attached to the Orkney and Khuma police stations ought to be commended. We will continue to mobilize resources to capacitate our specialized units with a view of improving policing interventions in order to ensure that our interventions respond to the ever changing crime trends”

The trio will appear at the Orkney Magistrates Court on Monday, 14 March 2022 on charges ranging from Kidnapping, Extortion, Armed Robbery and Possession of Suspect Stolen Goods.

Those who have fallen victim or know anyone who may have fallen victim to this syndicate in the North West Province are advised to contact Colonel Thabo Sebatane, the Provincial Commander responsible for Organised Crime on 071 481 2911.



Colonel Athlenda Mathe
082 040 8808


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