Taxi bosses look into kidnapping

2017-05-09 06:00
Maitland taxi stop is empty following the kidnap of Edwina Presence (37)PHOTO: Nomzamo yuku

Maitland taxi stop is empty following the kidnap of Edwina Presence (37)PHOTO: Nomzamo yuku

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Taxi bosses are searching for the kidnappers of a Factreton woman who was kidnapped and left for dead two weeks ago.

The organisers of two local taxi associations, Bellville and KenFacta, say the report of the woman’s ordeal had a negative impact on their business.

They say they want to help Edwina Presence get justice and clear their name, because they cannot stand losing money or being associated with any criminal acts, especially violence against women.

Presence was allegedly kidnapped by five unknown people in a taxi on Saturday 22 April, when she took a Bellville taxi near Maitland Shoprite to go home.

The mother of five was shocked when the taxi sped up upon reaching her destination in 12th Avenue, Kensington. She started quarrelling with the assistant driver who assaulted her. She was then robbed of her belongings and money was also withdrawn from her bank card.

After being assaulted by her kidnappers, she pretended to be dead and they threw her out of the moving taxi near a bush in Worcester. She managed to get to the nearest police station in Paarl after two days of walking and hiding in the bushes.

By then her family had already reported her as missing to the police.

Linda Roman, chairperson of the Kenfacta taxi association, says they cannot let something like this slip and they are determined to play a part to help find the kidnapping driver.

She says it is not the first time allegations like these have been reported against the Bellville association.

“We are badly affected by this. Clients are very important to us because they are the ones putting bread on our tables. What happened was bad, especially to a woman. I am a woman as well. I am very sorry to the lady,” Roman adds.

People’s Post visited the taxi stop next to Maitland Shoprite – where Presence’s ordeal had started – last Friday afternoon. There were no passengers waiting for taxis and a vendor nearby says it has been quiet for the past two weeks. He says taxi drivers would wait there and get very few passengers, get furious and leave the spot.

“This stop is usually busy, especially on Fridays but since the kidnap story there have been very few people here. It seems like people prefer to walk or be driven in private cars recently,” the vendor says.

Henrietta Polman, chairperson of the Bellville taxi association, says: “We are doing our investigation but we assume it was a pirate operation. It has negatively affected the name of the association and it is not what we stand for.”

Asked about the man the association previously identified as the kidnapper, Polman says: “We are not sure of anything, we are trying to help.”

She would not comment further on the matter.

Presence says she appreciates the support from the taxi bosses and hopes they will find the driver soon.

She says more than 15 members of the Bellville association gathered at her home last Monday, bringing a suspect for her to identity but she could not be certain.

“I asked them to take him to the police station because the case is with the police now,” says Presence.

She says she is recovering at home and has started attending counselling.

“I realised I needed counselling because I have become paranoid. I cannot even take a taxi anymore.”

She complains of slight pains on her hip and waist. Presence says she hopes her kidnappers can be found soon.

Police spokesperson Sergeant David Stemmet says they were not aware of the investigation by the taxi association. He says the police are investigating her case and no arrests have been made.

He also responded to a complaint by the Presence family that the police did not take it seriously enough when Edwina was reported as missing, saying: “We took their case seriously and even now it’s under ­investigation.”

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