Abduction joke not funny, says school

2017-06-30 13:45
Superior Security guard Precious Mkhize stands outside Northern Park Primary where a couple offered her R20 000 for a male pupil from the school on Tuesday.

Superior Security guard Precious Mkhize stands outside Northern Park Primary where a couple offered her R20 000 for a male pupil from the school on Tuesday. (Ian Carbutt)

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A couple was detained after offering a school security guard R20 000 to abduct a child but were released on Thursday after telling police the bribe was a “joke”.

On Monday, Superior Security guard, Precious Mkhize was at her post inside Northern Park Primary’s gate when a couple approached her with a shocking offer.

She said the couple had been at the school’s admin office with a pair of red Nike soccer boots to give to a child, but had brought the package back out to their car before approaching Mkhize.

Mkhize said the couple told her they would give her R20 000 if she handed over a male pupil from the school and would deposit another R100 000 upon delivery of the child to the couple.

They even gave Mkhize a cell number so she could contact them.

“They said they had the money inside the car,” said Mkhize.

“I was shocked. I said no and then took down their registration number and called my managers,” she said.

Superior Security’s operations manager Lance Young and general manager Ryan Bruwer said after Mkhize reported the incident, they decided to set up a sting operation to catch the couple. “We asked Precious to call the couple and tell them she had changed her mind as she needed the money,” said Young. “She called them on Wednesday and they must have been suspicious because they declined.”

Young said Superior Security was on high alert on Thursday and as soon as they spotted the couple’s vehicle in the area they questioned them about the incident.

The couple told the guards that they had just been joking with Mkhize and the offer was not to be taken seriously.

Young and Bruwer detained the couple and took them to Townhill police station where they were questioned by police.

However, Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said that the couple was interviewed by police and were released as there was no evidence of the alleged bribe and that they did not appear suspicious.

Ngobese said no case was opened but their fingerprints were taken so the police could continue to monitor them.

Northern Park Primary would not comment on the matter, however, a letter was sent out to all parents alerting them to the incident. The letter was handed out on Tuesday, the day the couple approached Mkhize.

The letter said the couple had approached Mkhize at the school gate where they offered her money if she handed a child over to them.

It said the couple was identified as the same couple that had come into the school’s main office to deliver soccer boots.

The letter urged parents not to panic as the matter was being dealt with and also praised Mkhize for the way in which she handled the matter.

It said that all their pupils were safe and whether the offer was made in jest or not, the school was still viewing the matter in a serious light.

KZN Education Department spokesperson Kwazi Mthethwa said that as long as law enforcement were satisfied, the department was satisfied.

“We have full confidence in the police,” he said. “We also want to warn people not to make jokes about abducting children. You cannot joke about such things.”

A senior police official who could not be named said the couple should have been arrested under conspiracy to commit a kidnapping charges.

“They should have been held and profiled until the police found out everything about them.

“Now they are free to go to another school and it will be too late.

“It is times like these that I am embarrassed to be a police officer.”

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  child abduction

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