Police believe they have made a major breakthrough in a series of kidnapping cases after seven people were arrested in Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, on Thursday morning.
National police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said an intelligence-driven operation by the South African Police Service's multidisciplinary task team had led to the arrests.
Naidoo said seven people were arrested in connection with three kidnapping incidents in Gauteng. A hijacked vehicle and a firearm were recovered.
He said the task team – which consisted of members of the Hawks, crime intelligence, hostage negotiators, the national intervention unit, the K9 unit, and others – raided three addresses in South Hills, Johannesburg.
"At one of the addresses, an Eldorado Park kidnap victim, kidnapped on April 16, was rescued during the operation. Four men and a woman with an infant were arrested for kidnapping and a number of cellphones and cash were seized," Naidoo said.
Two more men were arrested at the other raided premises for possession of a hijacked motor vehicle and stolen firearm, a 9mm pistol, Naidoo said.
The vehicle, a red Volkswagen Polo fitted with false registration numbers, was reported hijacked at Mondeor police station on April 15.
Naidoo said the suspects were linked to three cases of kidnapping in Eldorado Park, Cullinan, and Alberton.
"The victim in the Cullinan case was kidnapped on April 8 and released nine days later on the 17th while the victim on the Alberton case was kidnapped on March 7 and released on April 8," he said.
"Investigations to determine if these suspects cannot be linked to more incidents of kidnapping around the country are underway."