Laura Grant

Gemma Ritchie

Ransom kidnappings make up only 5% of South Africa’s kidnapping cases, according to the South African Police Service. Most kidnappings are because of robberies and hijackings.

The number of kidnappings in South Africa has been increasing sharply over the past year. In the first six months of 2022 an average of 1 143 kidnappings a month were reported to the police, double the monthly average in 2021 (700).

The increase in kidnapping for ransom and extortion cases “suggests that it has become an established and lucrative criminal practice in South Africa”, said the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime (GI-TOC) in a Strategic Organised Crime Risk Assessment report for South Africa published in September 2022.

One province is driving this increase – Gauteng. The number of kidnappings reported in the first six months of 2022 are already 60% higher than the number reported for the whole of 2019.

Between January and June this year, an average of 579 kidnappings a month were reported in Gauteng, up from 277 in 2021 and 182 in 2019.

KwaZulu-Natal has the second highest number of kidnappings, with an average of 218 kidnappings a month for the first half of 2022.

Mpumalanga has shown the second-highest increase in kidnappings, after Gauteng. Cases in the first six months of 2022 (538) are already 15% higher than the total for 2019 (466). Mpumalanga police stations have reported an average of 90 kidnappings a month for 2022.

Police stations with the most kidnappings

This provincial pattern is reflected in the 20 police stations that reported the most kidnappings in the first six months of 2022; three are in KwaZulu-Natal (Inanda, Umlazi and Pinetown), one is in Mpumalanga (Delmas) and the rest are in Gauteng.

The two stations that reported the highest number of kidnappings between January and June this year are Vosloorus (114) and Kempton Park (101), both in Gauteng.

The precincts with the highest number of reported cases in Gauteng tend to be clustered.

Jhb Central, Jeppe, Booysens, Moffatview and Mondeor precincts are grouped in the centre of the city edging south.

Vosloorus and Heidelberg are very close to each other on the N3 highway to Durban in the south-east of Johannesburg.

Randfontein, Westonaria and Orange Farms are grouped together to the south west. Orange Farms, Evaton and Vanderbijlpark precincts are close to each other near the N1 freeway.

Further afield, there are two precincts in the top 20 to the north of Pretoria, Mabopane and Rietgat, and Delmas, to the east, which is in Mpumalanga province, on the border of Gauteng.

Culled from Mail & Guardian