The South African Police Service (SAPS) has launched an investigation into a kidnapping incident that occurred in Komatipoort, Mpumalanga on Sunday, 24 September 2023. Three employees, two women and a man, were kidnapped from a farm in the evening and held hostage until their release on Friday, 29 September 2023.
The incident took place when three armed suspects entered the farm and targeted the workers, taking the victims under duress into the nearby bushes. Fortunately, one employee managed to hide underneath a tractor and escape the clutches of the kidnappers.
The families of the victims grew increasingly concerned and reported the incident to the police in Komatipoort, who registered a case of kidnapping. The Provincial Commissioner of SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, immediately established a team of experts to investigate the matter.
The team is comprised of members from the Visible Policing unit, Tactical Response Team (TRT), K9 (Dog) Unit, detectives from Komatipoort SAPS, and their counterparts from Ehlanzeni District. In addition, Crime Intelligence, hostage negotiators, and officials from the Department of Health are also part of the team.
Although the victims have been freed, the kidnappers remain at large. The investigation is ongoing, and the team is working tirelessly to ensure that these perpetrators are swiftly apprehended. Preliminary findings suggest that the victims endured gross human rights violations during their ordeal.
The police believe that the suspects may be foreign nationals from Mozambique, and they are collaborating with international law enforcement agencies such as Interpol to prevent any potential escape. In their efforts to solve this kidnapping saga, the investigators are seeking the assistance of Mr Reuben Makwakwa, whose picture has been attached to this statement.
The motive behind the kidnapping is currently unknown, and the police are not ruling out the possibility of a ransom demand. This aspect will be thoroughly investigated as part of the ongoing inquiry.
The SAPS urges Mr Makwakwa or anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact the police immediately. Reports can be made by calling Crime Stop at 08600 10111 or by using the MYSAPS app. All information received will be treated as confidential, and callers have the option to remain anonymous.
Lieutenant General Manamela has expressed relief at the safe return of the three victims and has pledged that law enforcement will continue to devote all available resources towards the arrest of those responsible.