'Pay R8,000 or fetch your dead son': Joburg father's chilling 'kidnap' ordeal

Terrified their children would be killed, the parents transferred R6,000 to the 'kidnappers'.
Terrified their children would be killed, the parents transferred R6,000 to the 'kidnappers'.
Image: 123RF/nito500

Answering a call from his son turned into a chilling ordeal for a Johannesburg father, who was allegedly ordered to pay a ransom or “fetch your son dead”.

Three teenagers were travelling from Kensington at the weekend when five armed men allegedly appeared “out of nowhere”, forced them out of the vehicle, searched them and demanded money, cellphones, bank cards and pin numbers. 

Later, they were allegedly tied up with ropes and held at gunpoint in the area. Three of the five men left to make withdrawals, while two guarded the victims and assaulted them. 

One of the men instructed the victims to call their parents and ask for cash.

The father of a 19-year-old victim told TimesLIVE that he had received a terrifying phone call from his son’s cellphone on Saturday night while he was at a dinner party.

The teenagers and their parents asked not to be identified, fearing they could be targeted again.

“The guys were very aggressive and hostile. They ordered us to make an e-wallet payment of R8,000 in eight minutes or fetch our dead son. They said exactly that,” he said.

“They made our son talk to us briefly. All he said was that it was serious and begged us to give the kidnappers the money.”

He borrowed his wife’s cellphone to investigate how to make the transaction, as people at the dinner party did not know how to use the e-wallet service.

“I had to think on the spot, because the guys were clear on their demands. I was speaking and pleading with them not to harm him while I was on the other phone checking on the internet how the whole thing worked,” he said.

Desperate to save his son’s life, with the help of friends and family R6,000 was sent to his son’s number.

Thereafter, the “kidnappers” fled the scene, leaving the victims tied up. They were able to free themselves and seek help.

A second parent said the teens were severely affected by the ordeal. “The boys are alive, but traumatised. You can imagine. One of them had just completed his last examination at university,” she said.

The “kidnappers” kept demanding more money, even after the payment had been made.

“What’s unfortunate is that even after the boys escaped, they still called and demanded more money.”

A case was opened at Jeppe police station. Jeppe police spokesperson Capt Richard Munyai could not confirm what stage the investigation was at late on Monday.

The 19-year-old's father has since urged parents to monitor their children whereabouts and have their details handy should the need arise.

“When this hit us, we didn’t have our son's ID number or vehicle registration handy. We had to make phone calls. So if parents could make it a point to have small details handy and, if possible, track their whereabouts,” he said.

A friend, Steven Sedley, who was at the party when the incident occurred, said this on Facebook: “The mothers and fathers and the boys are traumatised and possibly forever altered, obviously. We are too ... Warn your kids, not even a group of three large young men in a public place is a guarantee of safety.”