#OccupyLuthuliHouse organiser hijacked

2016-10-02 06:01
Tlangi Mogale. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

Tlangi Mogale. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla

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One of the organisers of last month’s #OccupyLuthuliHouse protest was hijacked, kidnapped for three days, told to stop having a big mouth and robbed of her bank cards and luxury SUV.

Several armed men in balaclavas allegedly also told Tlangi Mogale, a branch executive of the ANC in Tshwane, to stop being friends with Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and that she should quit politics.

“They told me: ‘You think you are clever. You talk too much. You must stay away from Julius and you must stay away from politics,’” said Mogale.

Over the three-day ordeal, the robbers allegedly forced Mogale to make cash transfers in at least four batches from her business bank account.

They also helped themselves to ATM withdrawals and purchases at retail and clothing shops using her bank cards.

Yesterday, a police officer at Boschkop police station in Pretoria confirmed that a case of hijacking and kidnapping was being investigated.

The case, the officer said, was opened with the Silverton police on Friday, September 23, but has since been transferred to Boschkop as that was the jurisdiction where the alleged crime was committed.

The investigating officer assigned to the case referred queries to the station’s spokesperson, Captain Van der Merwe, who was off duty yesterday.

Dragged from vehicle

Mogale said she was hijacked on the night of Wednesday, September 21, while driving home from popular Tshwane hangout spot, House 22 in Sunnyside, where she had watched a football game earlier that night.

She runs a clothing shop near the venue.

Mogale said that while approaching her home, she noticed a car that was fast coming up behind her.

“The next thing I knew, this big blue BMW had cut me off in the front at a speed bump. Several men – about five or six – emerged pointing guns at me, ordering me to open the door,” she said.

After doing so, she was dragged out of the vehicle, pushed to the back seat of her SUV and ordered to keep her head down. Both cars sped off.

Her captors took her bank cards from her bag and demanded the PIN numbers, she said.

After about 15 minutes, they stopped, blindfolded Mogale and tied her hands together using her shoe laces.

The men then drove off again.

After just under an hour of driving, they pulled over on what appeared to be a mountain, said Mogale, “because I could just make out the city lights, peeking under my blindfold, from where we were standing”.

“I was taken from the car and walked to a dark place by at least three of the men,” she said.

“While we were still at that mountain, one of the guys, who appeared to be the leader, told me that he was not a killer.

“He said if he was a killer, he would kill [me] as he was supposed to.”

One of the men, Mogale added, recounted her daily schedule to her, including details about her family and the recent trips she had undertaken.

They also ordered her to transfer money from her business account using her cellphone app, she said.

“They then put me back in the car and drove to a house, where I was taken to a room,” she said.

For the next two days, the men were interested only in her money and ordered her to transfer cash out of her bank account to another account.

“They even made me call the bank to have the transfers cleared so they could get hold of the money,” she said.

During this time, she was allowed to speak to her family “to assure them that I was okay and safe. But they had guns pointed at me and would put me on speaker phone.”

Linked to politics

On Friday night, Mogale was dropped off in Mamelodi after her sister suspected something was wrong when she received yet another call. She took a taxi to Silverton and went to the police station.

Yesterday, Mogale said at first she thought the hijacking was linked to politics when the men mentioned Julius’ name.

“I do not know if this is political or not. I hope not,” she added.

On September 5, Mogale and other ANC members organised the #OccupyLuthuliHouse protest to express their frustration with the party’s leadership, following its dismal performance in the August 3 municipal elections.

Among the demands the protesters wanted to raise at the ANC’s headquarters were that President Jacob Zuma and the national executive committee resign; party stalwarts be brought in to form a task team to lead the ANC to a special national congress before December; the fees commission be dissolved; and free education be implemented.

However, their march was met with resistance at Luthuli House when members of the ANC Youth League and Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association prevented the group from marching to their destination. A scuffle broke out between the groups.

On the same day of the march, Malema told the media that he was proud of the #OccupyLuthuliHouse movement for taking a stand.

“I celebrated their courage that, even when they saw that rented mob of so-called ANC military veterans – those nyaope delinquents who have been fed whoonga the whole night to beat up those people here today – still the young people were courageous enough to go. I salute them,” he said.

The youth league claimed that the group was being financed by EFF national chairperson Advocate Dali Mpofu to march on Luthuli House.

Mpofu denied the claim.

Read more on:    anc  |  eff  |  julius malema  |  crime  |  politics

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