Hijacked man quizzed

2012-10-13 00:00

THE man who went missing for three days after texting that he had been hijacked, spent yesterday morning giving statements to police.

Scraps of detail have now emerged about Leon van Rensburg’s ordeal after sending his 15-year-old daughter Megan an SOS message to her cellphone on Tuesday morning, saying “Help, hijacked”.

His older son, Graham, spoke to the Weekend Witness while his parents were at Pinetown police station. He said the family had yet to quiz their father.

“When he’s ready he will tell us. It’s too soon, we have no idea what he’s been through,” said the 23-year-old accounting graduate.

Authorities are remaining equally mum about Van Rensburg’s whereabouts after his disappearance, but confirmed they were looking for two suspects.

When Weekend Witness contacted Van Rensburg’s wife, Shirley, later for a further interview with her and her husband, she asked to be left alone.

“We are trying to process it all, please,” she said.

Van Rensburg emerged out of the blue on Thursday in Underberg, a day after his Toyota Tazz was recovered in Kokstad, more than 100 km away. The 52-year-old father of three was unharmed and wearing the same clothes as the day he disappeared.

Graham said his dad found some help from unknown people in the area who allowed him to make a call. The first person Van Rensburg rang was a former brother-in-law in Howick. It was he who fetched him from Underberg on Thursday night and took him halfway to Durban, where family spokesperson Rob Gardner picked him up.

Graham said it was an aunt in Cape Town who contacted the family with the good news at about 7 pm.

Van Rensburg then called home and Shirley took the call. Asked what her reaction was, Graham said: “She was in tears. She was in a state of shock.”

He arrived home at 11 pm into the arms of his family.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said Van Rensburg, an IT specialist, told them two people in an Isuzu bakkie hijacked him.

Earlier his son said a trace on his cellphone indicated the SOS text message was sent not far from their home in New Germany. The last signal from his phone was at 2 am on Wednesday morning in nearby Wyebank.

In his statement, Van Rensburg said his abductors took him to the Underberg area on Thursday morning and abandoned him.

Zwane said Van Rensburg’s assailants took his cellphone after he sent the SMS to his daughter.

But the biggest question is where Van Rensburg was in the days after he was snatched and police refused to say anything on that matter.

A charge of hijacking is being investigated, Zwane said.

Reverend Smanga Bosman of the Methodist Church in Pinetown, which Van Rensburg attends, said Graham told him his dad “looks okay”.

“What is important is that he [Van Rensburg] is back and with his family,” Bosman said.

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