'Help, hijacked' - Dad's last SMS

2012-10-11 08:25

Durban - A chilling SOS to his daughter and an abandoned car found more than 200km from his office a day later, are the only clues in a family’s frantic search for a KwaZulu-Natal father believed to have been hijacked on Tuesday.

Leon van Rensburg, 52, an IT specialist from New Germany near Pinetown, sent an SMS to his 15-year-old daughter Megan at 10:41 on Tuesday.

It simply said: “Help, hijacked.”

Megan’s cellphone was off as she was at school. She only saw the message four hours later and immediately raised the alarm.

On Wednesday, Van Rensburg’s white Toyota Tazz was found abandoned in Kokstad.


“I just want to know where my dad is,” said an emotional Graham van Rensburg, 23, a Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal's Westville campus.

“I am feeling terrible and I just want to know where my dad is.

“The past two days have been a mess… an absolute rollercoaster with everyone phoning me all the time. It’s hectic.

“I was in shock when I heard. My mom told me when she got home and she was in such a state.”

Van Rensburg snr dropped off his wife at work at 08:15 and was reportedly seen by a work colleague leaving his Fraser Road office in Hillcrest at 09:00.

Comments on the Cato Manor Organised Crime Unit Facebook page said the 10:41 distress SMS was triangulated to a cellphone tower in New Germany.

However, this could not be officially confirmed by police.

Family spokesperson Rob Gardner told The Witness: "The police have just called us and let us know that his car has been found.

“After the SMS that he sent to his daughter we have heard nothing from him. You can imagine how the family is feeling.”

Family man

Van Rensburg, who was born and raised in Pinetown, is a devout family man who enjoys sport, he said.

“He likes playing tennis and is a member of the Lahee Park tennis club. He and his wife attend the Pinetown Methodist Church and he plays guitar in the church band.”

Lahee Park tennis club chair Robert Kelly described Van Rensburg as “an incredible family man”.

“We played tennis together for many years and I know him well.

“He is a hell of a nice man, a really gentle guy who has a wonderful wife and children,” said Kelly.

Social networks were abuzz with posts and tweets of Van Rensburg’s photo, description and appeals for his safe return.

Police have remained mum on their investigation’s progress.

Van Rensburg is still missing and investigations into the hijacking continue, said police spokesperson Thulani Zwane.

The car has been recovered and no arrests have yet been made.

Forensic experts

Facebook posts regarding the vehicle’s discovery on several groups were deleted, apparently on request of a police task team.

One post read: “They do not want information shared now please. This is a request from the SAPS task team. Please delete the post.”

A source close to the investigation, said all items of value had been removed from the car.

The vehicle was at the Kokstad police pound where it would be examined by forensic experts.

The source added that the last signal from Van Rensburg’s cellphone was picked up by a Wyebank tower. This too could not be officially confirmed by police.

Van Rensburg’s disappearance comes on the back of a hijacking in Durban North last week in which estate agent Dorothy Carlyle, 59, endured a nine-hour ordeal at the hands of her assailants.

She was bundled into the boot of her car after being stabbed while her hijackers made several withdrawals from her bank account.

Carlyle was rescued by a team of police and private security staff who recovered the vehicle outside a tavern in KwaMashu.

  • Peter - 2012-10-11 08:48

    I hope he is OK,! Why no picture of Van Rensburg for potential sightings of him? - 2012-10-11 09:00

      Hi Peter, their is a picture of him on the Missing Children SA website on Facebook. Have a look their

      beverly.young3 - 2012-10-11 11:05

      sjoe, I have belonged to is an awesome organisation, I have a'panic' button on my phone.......they can trace one etc. Shame, my thoughts are with the family, but moreover the poor guy if he is still alive.

      johan.fou - 2012-10-11 12:10

      Thanks Beverley. I didn't know about the Eblockwatch feature, until I read your comment. Just read about them, and think I'm going to join.

      johan.fou - 2012-10-11 12:29

      Forgot to comment what I originally wanted. Very sad about Leon. I really hope he is ok, or at least that his family can get closure very soon. As for the basterds that hijacked him...well I hope they meet a horrible cruel death.

      stephen.scott.376043 - 2012-10-11 15:05

      @ Kelley, beverly, johan, I'm wondering who put the 1 thumbs down to your comments?

      richardjs - 2012-10-12 08:58

      This is so tragic! (but i know why people down voted Kelley. There, their, they're... there's a difference. :) )

  • eva.walle.75 - 2012-10-11 08:50

    Once you start hating your country, is it possible to ever love it again?

      grant.cloete.9 - 2012-10-11 10:29

      There are good people here. It's just the bad ones that make all the noise...

      Frank - 2012-10-11 11:28

      i will always love south africa and some of the people in it.But i`m working on making the states my new home.My son will not go through this crap with a rascist government and a bunch of murdering cowards having us live in fear every day.

      hein.huyser - 2012-10-11 11:56

      Its not the country you must hate, just the actions of some people. It makes it bearable

      sauvignon.blanc.31 - 2012-10-11 15:02

      america is not the answer. there is enough racism and hypocrisy there to send you running back here. at least here we know about the levels of corruption and what goes on, in america you are clueless and have no idea what your government is up to. (and its nothing good)

      stephen.scott.376043 - 2012-10-11 15:06

      When it gets as violent as Scotland I'll leave.

      ppisciotta - 2012-10-11 16:51

      sauvignon - totally false. I live in both USA and SA. I love the freedom of the States. No walls, fences, razor wire and electric fences. Here the electric fences are to keep 4 legged animals in the pasture. Not to keep the 2 legged animals from unwanted entry into one's home for murder or rape. I love SA, but I detest what the culture has become. I'd take American culture any day over the evil that has befallen SA. Simply do some research on the % of murders @ capita between SA and the USA. You're a bit delayed to think you're safer in SA than you would be in America- even with all the guns here.

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-10-11 19:00

      I love my country! It's beautiful, diverse and exciting. It's the people who 'govern' it, screw it and bleed it dry that are destroying it with not one thought to their future or their childrens' futures.

      heibrin.venter - 2012-10-12 04:54

      @PAP: 'even with all the guns here.' -- And that's what a lot of people don't understand: democracy only works if the people have the power to overthrow the government. It is the only way to ensure that government does not rule, but lead.

  • TshilidziPhuravhathu - 2012-10-11 08:57

    “They do not want information shared now please. This is a request from the SAPS task team. Please delete the post.” Dear News24 Arent we doing just that? Concerned.

      klippies.coke.7 - 2012-10-11 09:15

      Exactly what I thought...

      grant.callaway.50 - 2012-10-11 10:11

      Last week, it was the sharing of information that led to a hijacked woman being found! What possible reason could the police have for NOT wanting info spread?? Suspect, if you ask me...

      mya.schultz.16 - 2012-10-11 12:05

      Whats more, wouldn't HIS picture be useful on this article instead of a stock pic? Strength to the family and hope that there is a happy ending to all of this.

  • Kagiso Tlhakung - 2012-10-11 09:06

    Police are useless...y the hell do they not have a database of DNA and fingerprints? This could make solving crimes way easier, its tym to invest in this system

      chez.kri - 2012-10-11 09:29

      @Kagiso. Don't blame the police for that; at least not the police we deal with. That kind of planning comes from way higher up the ladder than the poor bug*er who has to deal with our anger on a daily basis. Most of our cops are doing their best with what little they have.

      hein.huyser - 2012-10-11 12:02

      Systems are there. The political will to place the people who knows how to run these systems are being blocked by racist legislation to be promoted to the correct positions to activate these programs. Racism catching up with the cANCer. Why do you think those cretins in gov are hiding behind 25million rand security gates with enough armed guards to start a small war? They rather choose to only arrange protaction for themselves, and we, the taxpaying citizens must suffer. Want a change in that area? Change the party making these decisions and laws

      patsy.smith.125 - 2012-10-11 19:04

      There just isn't enough money, Kagiso. It's all going into developing Zumaville, which is apparently more important!!!!

  • jayne.oldewage - 2012-10-11 09:06

    This is a legitimate case as far as everyone knows, I have friends that know the family. There is a poster with his pics etc doing the rounds, sounds like News24 has just read an article on another site and is reporting on that. His car was found, the location was announced and this is what they have asked every one to delete. Instead of being suspicious, be sympathetic and try to imagine how rationally you would act in a situation like this!

  • dhavandran.palavar - 2012-10-11 09:11

    thanks to the lawyers for prisoner's rights , the punishment does not fit the crime. we need punishments that will deter criminals. a trip to prison is like a holiday break for these bastards.

  • Hemlock - 2012-10-11 09:23

    How dreadful.....thoughts and prayers are with this family that dad is found and is ok.

      jonathan.maree.1 - 2012-10-11 09:44

      I don't think dreadful even starts to describe what they must be feeling right now

  • dave.kofang - 2012-10-11 09:25

    I dnt know that place Kokstad but i think between there and new germany there should be toll gates where cameras are installed.Police must use the footage to catch this scums.

      chez.kri - 2012-10-11 11:32

      @Dave. Kokstad is a tiny little place in the mid-west of KZN. Unfortunately, if you know the area, its possible to get there on backroads.

  • terrylee.heuer - 2012-10-11 09:28

    This is terrible the family must be going out of their minds with worry there is nothing worse than to know someone you love is missing and you have no idea where they are.Questions you ask yourself what's happening to them are they alive are they cold are they hurt??!! The questions are unending I feel for the family I do hope he is found unharmed for those that have never had a loved one missing especially under these circumstances and don't know the person please be careful what you say!!!

  • Grant Wykerd - 2012-10-11 09:36

    Will someone please ban this idiot from posting rubbish like this on a reputable News feed!? What ever happened to moderators who could prevent jackasses like this fool from posting here ever again? If this is my Dad, I'd locate this moron and God help him/her...

      delish7564 - 2012-10-11 10:43

      Grant, it seems certain people are moderated. My post earlier was, not sure why :(

  • trevor.myburgh.12 - 2012-10-11 09:37

    A genocide on the innocent committed by a load of thugs approved by our useless thieving government. Our pray will be that God will change and arrest the hearts of these brutal men, and the safe return of this man to his family.

  • Jaco Liza Venter - 2012-10-11 09:37

    All South Africans Black,white,indian,muslum,coloured arm your self and shoot back dont wait for the goverment and the police to solve crime.We have to fight fire with fire and take the muslums exsample stone them to deaf then this madness wil stop.

      ppisciotta - 2012-10-11 16:53

      I purchased my firearm while in the States. I never carry it when I'm living here (America). But I "pack heat" as they say here, when I'm back home in SA.

  • hendrikvs - 2012-10-11 09:50

    The mess the ANC created could never be rectified as they provide daily examples of lawless behaviour.

      sibusiso.mkoko - 2012-10-11 18:11

      What has the poor ANC done? Do they have an academy to train rapists, murderers, conn artists, hijackers, robbers etc? If so, why is there crime in countries in Europe, America, Western Cape, etc? The ANC is not in charge there. Stop blaming the poor ANC for everything happening in SA!

      colin.langley - 2012-10-11 22:58

      Sibusiso...The ANC are in charge. They run (sic) the government. Where you been? Poor old Zimbabwe?

  • sthembiso.jali.50 - 2012-10-11 09:59

    the thought of being hijacked at 10h41 a.m, sa is turning into banana republic.!

  • pretty.zwane.71 - 2012-10-11 10:34

    I can imagine the ordeal the family is going through right now, i pray for them and for his safety return may God be with them.

      dale.simmons.7921 - 2012-10-13 13:46

      I too have been chanting to the ancestors for his safe return. The bones show he will appear somewhere in "high ground" in the berg area in KZN. The spirits say there is an interesting story to be told.

  • NatashaDawnQuinn - 2012-10-11 10:50

    You can do what you want in this country because SA seems to protect the criminals rights more than the victims rights. I hope this man is found alive. Why do we have to constantly put up with this, why does the ANC not do something, why not take the money used for Toll Roads and fancy new roads to his new home and spend it on crime, when is it ever going to stop! is this going to become a dictatorship like Zimbabwe? I as a victim of an attempted hijacking by Marlboro last year July, I was parked in by a white conquest and two men with guns tried to pull me from my vehicle, when they could not get that right they grabbed all my stuff and jumped into the conquest and one ran into the township. I reported this immediately to the police, they did not write down the men had guns because it is easier to report a smash and grab than a potential hijacking! There were clear fingerprints taken the next day, that afternoon when I phoned to find out if they had any news I was told the case had been closed, when I went to Sandton police station where I reported it I was told to stop making a scene. To this day the detectives never got back to me about why the case had been closed and not even investigated!

  • nana.akua.12914 - 2012-10-11 11:31

    May you Oh our God intervene that there maybe a testimony in the house of the van Rensburg's. For thou knowest no bounds and has promised that if we ask anything it shall be given, there are more than two praying touching to this man' safe return. To thee oh God be the glory, not to the will of Satan, and honor foraver and ever Amen.

  • nana.akua.12914 - 2012-10-11 11:34

    SA gotta go back to God, we are not happy. Lets all remove the mask and in repentance for the well being of our society return to God who alone will heal our land.

      hein.huyser - 2012-10-11 12:08

      I agree and respect your cry for sanity Nana, and believe me I think you are sincere, but as long as what we have a President who make blood-sacrifices to Satan, we will have problems in this country. Isaiah 19

      dewald.galjaard - 2012-10-11 12:16

      Yea erm ok. Tell us where he is first? I hate shortsighted comments like these. A) There is no god. B) The problem is MONEY. A man who can feed his family has no need to steal or kill. MONEY must be earned thus you need to start EDUCATING the masses. Not mislead them with promises of some supernatural being who will magically wave a wand and everyone will be 'happy' again. Then secondly. Mind your own business. You are not even South African.

  • elsje.botha - 2012-10-11 12:15

    May I never receive an SMS like that. I hope this man is found alive. x

  • dimitripappas - 2012-10-11 12:40

    I can only imagine the hell and trauma this family must be going through. I hope they find their husband/father and that he is unhurt. This is so unfair. THIS is why I have every reason to dislike this country. If you want to tell me to "look on the bright side and love the country despite the bad events" then all that proves is how ignorant and insensitive of a person you are, because you choose to turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. This country has a serious abnormality that needs to be healed, you can't simply just overlook it.

  • lindie.nel.98 - 2012-10-11 12:53

    Ek hoop hy is okay. Bid vir hom en die familie. Net om werk toe te gaan is 'n "risk" vandag!! Waar is Zuma deur al hierdie goed?? Hy is so still soos 'n muis!!!!!

  • ofentse.ramorula - 2012-10-11 12:58

    Not that I am inconsiderate, but has someone paused and thought about this? He drives a tazz and was hijacked, how did he manage to send an SMS? I don't think the hijackers would sit by and let him do that, I also don't think they put him in the boot, it's a tazz. Lets hope this was not staged for financial gains.

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-10-11 14:04

    Everything of the best Van Rensburg Family.

  • mshini.chaane - 2012-10-11 15:49

    There must be more than just a hijack I think it's a hit. Toyota Tazz hijacked something does not add up and they found a car 200km away surely they were not looking for a car. There is more to this I think his profession IT has a connection to this. I just pray that he is alright and will make contact soon. I will pray for his safe return.

  • ranase - 2012-10-11 15:55

    hijacking is nothing new or exclusively in SA, it happens everywhere in the world and it has nothing to do with the government rather with individuals like you. I hope Van reinsbeg (whatever his name is) will be able to see his loved ones again

  • ranase - 2012-10-11 15:55

    hijacking is nothing new or exclusively in SA, it happens everywhere in the world and it has nothing to do with the government rather with individuals like you. I hope Van reinsbeg (whatever his name is) will be able to see his loved ones again

  • ranase - 2012-10-11 15:55

    hijacking is nothing new or exclusively in SA, it happens everywhere in the world and it has nothing to do with the government rather with individuals like you. I hope Van reinsbeg (whatever his name is) will be able to see his loved ones again

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-11 16:28

    Our brave robbers! Always prefer to attack as many against the one and in the majority of cases elderly people and lonely women fall victims to them. Dont you worry you sons of a (w)itch, the justice will be served on you one day,one way or another. P.S.All the hope that the man is alive and will be rescued.

  • ben.small.98 - 2012-10-11 18:28

    Join Crime Stop Tips South Africa CSTSA on Facebook for updates.

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2012-10-11 18:56

    Wow! And there we were told that crime was down. Yeah, right!

  • iris.cunningham.10 - 2012-10-11 19:31

    I believe he has been found in Underberg today.

      beverly.young3 - 2012-10-12 07:21

      Yeah, sadly it might have been a hoax? If so, it is sick.....eblockwatch posted an article on fb......

  • bob.small.7547 - 2012-10-11 19:38

    Leon has been found unhurt and is on his way home.

  • - 2012-10-11 19:45

    Leon has just been found in Underberg... thank you Lord.

  • caroline.w.smit - 2012-10-11 19:50

    Just heard that he has been found. Apparently he was in Underberg but made his way to Howick. Thank God! Information is off the Missing SA Children's Facebook Page

      natalie.kalamoudacos - 2012-10-11 20:02

      Just heard the same thing. Best news today!

  • francois.v.eeden.3 - 2012-10-11 20:14

    really hope he's OK and they find him fast for the sake of his family

  • carla.bachmann.5 - 2012-10-11 20:58

    He has been found!

  • dimitripappas - 2012-10-11 22:30

    Wonderful to hear that he is alive and safe. Could we maybe find out some details about the incident (from him maybe?) that might help the rest of us avoid a similar incident?

  • SunblushStarfish - 2012-10-12 02:14

    Praise God this man has been found alive and well! What a wonderful result. Well done SAPS.

      dale.simmons.7921 - 2012-10-13 21:23

      And thanks to the spirits of my ancestors who heard my chants for his safe return.

  • adriaan.delange.94 - 2012-10-12 03:26

    Megan, We all pray with you. But I hope we find this people and slaughter them like they slaughter cows!

  • thembile.v.dunjana - 2012-10-12 06:24

    i think as an IT specialist and with a whole lot of experience in the field, the people who hijacked him targeted him in to use his knowledge to try and commit computerized fraudulent activities. there is and increasing number of such activities in SA recently. the fact that the tazz was found and he was not badly injured, clearly states that these guys are definitely gonna go back for him.

  • beverly.young3 - 2012-10-12 07:07

    BREAKING NEWS: The guy, Leon has been found unhurt. The sad news it that according to Eblockwatch, it was a sick is this? Maybe? now we know why the police wanted nothing published? Who knows......I guess the reports will flow in.....he was found in Howick. One puzzle, why did he text his daughter and not his wife? Andre, from Eblockwatch, says he is reserving judgement until it has been cleared up. Also, that if Leon had beena member, they would have traced him in minutes. Lets see what unfolds.

  • Nokuthula - 2012-10-12 08:46

    He's been found and ALIVE THANK GOD!!!

  • Jennifer White - 2013-03-02 10:56

    I pray that he is found alive. Think it's about time to relocate.

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