Mother asked to 'sell' baby to unknown man at Pretoria mall

2018-12-12 08:20


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A Pretoria woman was asked to sell her 11-month-old baby to an unknown man at a Centurion mall, EWN reported.

The woman was reportedly approached at the Forest Mall on Monday and asked how much she would sell the baby girl for.

The distraught mother tried in vain to get hold of a security official following the bizarre request, while the man – whom she believed was part of a syndicate – sat down and smoked, reportedly unfazed.

According to EWN, mall security footage indicated at least two other men in the company of the man who had approached her. 

In August, the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape called on anyone with information to come forward following several reports of a "series of child abductions" that allegedly took place over the previous two weeks in the Zonnebloem area.

"We regard abduction and other crimes in a serious light. Hence, we urge those with information about the above cited cases to report them immediately. It is our objective to investigate in order to bring the perpetrators to book," Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said in a statement at the time.

This is after a district social worker whose name has been withheld for security purposes sent an urgent notice to schools within the area in question, in which she warned parents to ensure pupils are dropped off and picked up at the entrance of the school.

Kidnapping kids becoming a trend

"Multiple cases have been reported to my office, of learners walking to and from school and being drugged and taken in a van/vehicle," she wrote in the notice.

In May, crime experts have predicted that kidnapping children for ransom will become a trend in South Africa, News24 reported.

In one month, the province had seen a teenage boy kidnapped from Dundee for ransom, and three young girls, kidnapped by armed men from Newcastle for a ransom of R2m.

READ: 'Kidnapping danger growing'

In Mpumalanga, a teenage boy was kidnapped for a ransom in bitcoin to the value of R1.5m.

Parents are being warned to be vigilant and to educate their children on the potential dangers posed by strangers.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) regional organised crime coordinator for Southern Africa Martin Ewi said although kidnapping in South Africa is not new, holding children for ransom certainly is.

In 2014, South Africa’s immigration laws were amended, with one of the reasons being "the growing issue of child trafficking".

Eleven children taken daily

Ewi said the change in the law was a result of some 4 200 kidnappings reported in South Africa in 2014, equating to around 11 children taken every day for child trafficking or smuggling.

Ewi said kidnapping children was mostly for child trafficking.

Last year, a Johannesburg mother urged parents to be vigilant after her young son was snatched at a family restaurant.

A video of the incident which took place in a Johannesburg Spur on November 1, 2016 was going viral on social media.

In the video, a small boy is seen walking to the play area of the restaurant. A man walks toward him, picks him up and walks in the opposite direction — with the boy in his arms.

READ: Police ask for info on Zonnebloem child abduction allegations

The man appears to be hiding the child, shielding him from view of his parents who are sitting just a few meters away.

The woman told News24 she suspects there were three men and a woman involved in the incident.

"I think they wanted to pass my son to the woman and have her leave the restaurant with him as it would look less suspicious."

The mother, who was pregnant at the time and gave birth two weeks later, said her husband noticed the man walking away with their 22-month-old child.

Be vigilant

"If, for some reason, my husband looked down to have a bite of food or just looked in a different direction for a split second, the situation could have had an entirely different ending," she said.

"You always think it will happen to someone else."

When her husband confronted the man who picked up their son, the man said he was "only playing".

Security eventually escorted the alleged perpetrators from the premises. 

The family opened a case of attempted kidnapping at the local police station.

 WATCH: Stranger snatches toddler in 10 seconds

Read more on:    pretoria  |  child abduction  |  crime  |  abductions

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