Frantic hunt for KZN rape captives

2012-09-28 07:47

Durban - A frantic mother and a police sting operation have saved a young Nkandla woman, who was rescued this week from a gang who are still believed to be holding several other women captive as sex slaves in KwaZulu-Natal.

Gang members are demanding ransoms from their victims’ families. The gang is believed to have already killed one woman, who tried to escape by reaching for one of her abductor’s firearms and was shot dead.

The SA Police Service is now racing against time to find the remaining 10 women.

After a 23-year-old woman from Nkandla was rescued in Pinetown on Wednesday morning in a police sting operation, the Special Task Force and a number of specialist units - including the Provincial Tracking Team and the National Intervention Unit - are combing the province to find where the abducted victims are being kept.

Conflicting reports

There were conflicting reports on Thursday that the group of kidnapped women, who are apparently being held in a shipping container and guarded day and night, are either in northern KwaZulu-Natal or in the greater Durban area. The women are allegedly repeatedly raped by their captors, who are believed to be South African and foreign nationals.

The woman who was rescued by police underwent counselling in Eshowe on Thursday and was unable to speak to The Witness.

However, her mother recounted her daughter’s ordeal, saying their reunion was “very emotional”.

“I couldn’t stop crying. We hugged for a long time. I had lost hope. I couldn’t eat or sleep at night thinking about the trauma my child was going through on a daily basis.”

She described how her daughter had told her she had been tied to a chair and left naked with her mouth taped.

Her captors repeatedly raped her and the other victims, giving them food once a day.

The kidnapped women were not allowed to communicate with each other and were guarded by armed men around the clock.

“After my daughter failed to return home after a few days I reported her missing to the SAPS.

Sting operation

“But last week we received our first phone call from a man who couldn’t speak Zulu properly, demanding we pay a R20 000 ransom for our daughter’s safe return.

“We told him we could only afford R5 000, which he accepted.

“We then informed the police and immediately deposited R300 into our daughter’s Postbank account,” she said.

The mother said the men confiscated her daughter’s clothes, only giving her clothing when it was time to withdraw money.

On Monday the family received a second phone call asking for more money. The family deposited R2 000 into their daughter’s account.

By this stage, the Eshowe SAPS had set up a sting operation to arrest the suspects and rescue her daughter.

According to a police source, the R300 was deposited to see where the money would be withdrawn.

“Once we had a reasonable idea of where they might withdraw again we made sure our officers were in the vicinity to rescue the victim and arrest the suspects,” said the source.


On Wednesday morning the victim was rescued at the Postbank in Pinetown. But her abductors managed to flee and no arrests were made.

According to provincial SAPS spokesperson Colonel Vincent Mdunge, police believe the men suspected they were being set up and slipped away.

“The difficulty we had was we knew what she looked like, but not her captors. They were probably watching from a distance. She was in a terrible state. Our members are thick on the ground. There is a serious sense of urgency to find these remaining women alive. This is a huge investigation. We are hoping to release an identikit shortly,” said Mdunge.

The Witness has learnt that when the woman first came to the bank to withdraw the R300, she was accompanied by two men.

However, the CCTV equipment in the bank was out of order or was not recording at the time and police were not in a position to identify the men ahead of the sting.

A well-placed SAPS source told The Witness the woman had a medical examination, which revealed “significant bruising”.

According to police, the woman boarded a minibus taxi in Eshowe for Nkandla on September 12.

The same taxi picked up a second woman and drove them towards Empangeni instead.

The two women were then driven to a field where they were raped and forced into a black Toyota Corolla.

They were then taken to a house with no windows and then later transported in a truck and taken to the container where four other women were already being kept.

On Tuesday it is alleged a further six women were brought to the container.

  • siliziwem - 2012-09-28 07:58

    This is a Nigerian movie!

      atholl.canterbury - 2012-09-28 08:47

      Abduction - Kidnapping is committed by persons who have a 'niche' criminal mindset. These criminals only see the present - they don't see or believe that One Day they'll be caught. Certain crimes require Specialised, Well Trained and Experienced Detectives and prosecutors.

  • Ritz40 - 2012-09-28 07:59

    Who is teaching the sons of Africa to have respect for their fellow brothers and sisters? Rape and murder is the order of the day!! Who will take responsibility? I feel very sorry for these woman, I hope they will teach there sons respect.

  • faizieishlah.shabalala - 2012-09-28 08:08

    The Banks CCTV not working. Was this Steve.

      Ritz40 - 2012-09-28 08:10

      Thats the best question you can ask when your own people are getting raped and murdered?

      Ritz40 - 2012-09-28 08:14

      Thats the best question you can ask when your own people are getting raped and murdered?

  • ganon.nhubunga - 2012-09-28 08:16

    I rather we become a Police State rather than where thugs has the rights than ordinary people. I rather we live in a country where Police are protected by legislation to kill the b@stards who rape, rob, hijack and all conduct of mayhem caused to innocent citizen. I rather be in a country where people can think twice when they can pretend they are on holiday but are coming to commit murder. We need people to wake up, black or white. We need state institutions to punish the guilty and not give a criminal 50 bails for the same offence in a year. We need committed individuals and I know they are there. Those foreigners who commiting crime here, they know that in their countries they will be killed by police but here we lock up police who are helping in the name of Human Rights. The Human Rights Groups are not helping here, they are counter revolutionery, let them speak on true Human Rights than protecting thugs who are in turn supported by their families in their disgusting satinc act. Let's wake up, otherwise our children will follow us to our graves sooner than we expected because of this chaotic stituation. People protest when people are tried for corruption. Why don't we wait for the outcome of learned institution then we can protest if a person has his Human Rights being trampled. Hosi Katekisa Afrika, Nkosi Sikelela Afrika, Morena boloka sechaba sa Afrika!!!!!!!!!

      Perfume5 - 2012-09-28 08:48

      I wish I could give you a million thumbs up for your comment!!!

      theo.schoeman.71 - 2012-09-28 08:48

      Make sure you vote for a good political party next time and you your wishes might just come true.

  • thomas.rikhotso.7 - 2012-09-28 08:18

    Swilu swa mukhuva lowu swiendliwa hi vanhu vo fana Caine. We must pray hard 4 those woman who is still at the container. With our prayers police will arest those barsted. They already shed the blood by killing 1 woman. Xigwevo xa rifu a xi vuyi,so those who killed intetionaly will be killed too. Tears! PAPAMFIHLO.

  • customdesign - 2012-09-28 08:23

    These bastards must pay- I hope they burn in hell

  • Perfume5 - 2012-09-28 08:25

    I hope and pray the other ladies are rescued!!!! We do not want to read that these rapists were given bail once arrested, think of these ladies and what they are being put through every minute of the day. Time to exercise life sentences in this country without parole. The victims have more rights, put them first.

  • Carlton - 2012-09-28 08:28

    This how disgraceful our country is 49 mil people 50 000 murder per year. UK 62 mil people 550 murders per year

  • morama.sebata - 2012-09-28 08:30

    Isn't this same place here the Zipper is building Zumaland...Afterall the chief that's demand 18 million rands is also there?Where the f@@ck is the law and order that the king needs to uophold for his f@cken Kingdom? ANC is stuffing everything up!!!

      theo.schoeman.71 - 2012-09-28 08:53

      So rectify the situation change your vote !

  • gregory.martin.5070 - 2012-09-28 08:31

    This is why we need the Cato Manor squad - forget courts,kill the swines.That's the only law they are scared of.

  • tlesofe - 2012-09-28 08:34

    South Africans we need to stand together n fight crime this is a real toture but we say we hv freedom of security!

  • Perfume5 - 2012-09-28 08:36

    "However, the CCTV equipment in the bank was out of order or was not recording at the time and police were not in a position to identify the men ahead of the sting" Does the bank not check on a daily basis if their CCTV equipment is in order!!!!

      vikus.ellis - 2012-09-28 09:10

      No Sir, I was robbed at a bank and when I asked for the CCTV footage... Sorry sir we only use it at daytime, we switch off all CCTV cameras after 17h00. ABSA, it's true.

      Bruce - 2012-09-28 09:48

      What is actually more worrying is that the cops failed to confirm beforehand that the CCTV from the bank were working or not...seems like they didn't do their homework at all.

      sedeshan - 2012-09-28 20:53

      My thoughts exactly. Another half-assed attempt at something they saw in a movie...once.

  • John Peter Steyn - 2012-09-28 08:43

    Sweet Baby Jesus! These guys are seriously evil. I hope that the community gets their hands on them.

  • Mike Peach Purchase - 2012-09-28 09:00

    And this is what the majority vote for,we have a serious problem.

  • Harold Chisimba - 2012-09-28 09:05

    Once being caught ,Don't waste resources and time of the state,rather just excute them slowly by amputation and castration while they are still alive. What vicious species they are?

  • tjaart.j.rensburg - 2012-09-28 09:06

    The death penalty can no longer be ignored. It must be re-instated.

  • leslie.rabie - 2012-09-28 09:12

    Every woman's nightmare

  • ntsieni1 - 2012-09-28 09:19

    Mara why,why,why,how would she live her life after this tragedy experience,,I'm sure she will never trust anyone,,some people are so evil,,may good Lord help you to restore yourself again,,,we need to stand together to fight such kind of crime

  • ntsieni1 - 2012-09-28 09:19

    Mara why,why,why,how would she live her life after this tragedy experience,,I'm sure she will never trust anyone,,some people are so evil,,may good Lord help you to restore yourself again,,,we need to stand together to fight such kind of crime

  • Eterni80 - 2012-09-28 09:25

    Fine 'em Kill 'em

  • ndou.miranda - 2012-09-28 09:30

    What does Mr. Zuma say about this?

      mya.schultz.16 - 2012-09-28 12:24

      Nothing... As usual. Remember that Mr Zuma with his millions of rands worth of bodyguards, security and blue lights says that SA is a safe country to live in. If this is his belief then how much priority do you think he gives crime, I'm sure he spends more time and resources trying to cover up his own 700 criminal charges. While we are at it, let's release another 15000 criminals for his birthday.

  • mart.botha - 2012-09-28 09:52

    The death penalty is the only punishment for this heinous class of offence. What is it about criminals that we people (SA in it's entirety) love so much that we wish to make sure the rest of their lives is as comfortable and complete as possible? The Bill of Human Rights theoretically should be heeded if the society within which it is practiced. is normal. Normal is about the furthest thing away from the world we live in. And don't refer to the rest of the world.....South Africa and what we do to fix our challenges is my concern...there is nothing stopping us re-writing the bench mark for the rest of the world to follow. If you take more than you give, you're on a slippery slope to being a 'public enemy' and therefore 'no longer required'.

  • mya.schultz.16 - 2012-09-28 12:24

    These poor women, how will they ever recover from an ordeal like this? I hope the woman continues to receive quality counselling and antiretrovirals. One big concern I have with this article is actually the amount of detail given. Surely in an ongoing investigation it is irresponsible and possibly illegal to give details of the investigation tactics? I'm talking about having them first deposit 300 to see where it would be picked up... Now the criminals (and others) are much wiser and won't fall for that again. Let's hope these women are found quickly.

      fatimah.mavuso - 2012-09-28 23:02

      ja ther's 2much detail in ths article.hpe these poor women r savd

  • sedeshan - 2012-09-28 13:01

    Why not wait for her to walk back towards the villains car? I'm glad she's safe but the cops should have caught the bastards!

  • devin.unwin.54 - 2012-09-28 17:57

    sjmanthey is on to something here - new catch phrases - ¨NECKLACE THE RAPIST¨

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