Kidnappings for ransom have increased in South Africa

Kidnappings for ransom have increased in South Africa

From 3,832 occurrences in 2013 to approximately 11,000 cases in 2021, according to the police, the majority of these kidnappings occurred in Gauteng.

According to the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) crime statistics, there were 3,832 incidences in 2013 and about 11,000 instances by 2021. Between January and March 2023, 3,641 cases were reported, up 10% over the same period in 2022.
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It is challenging to locate data on the sums of ransoms paid during the previous ten years. The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, however, came to the conclusion that the true number of kidnappings for ransom and extortion cases may be much higher than what is currently reported to the police in a risk assessment of South Africa for 2022.

The study claims that many events go unreported because of “persistent threats to the victim’s and his or her family’s well-being, even after release.”
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Who is responsible for the abductions?
Analysts claim that the surge in international organized crime groups operating in the country is largely to blame for the increase in kidnappings.

Similar syndicates have regularly targeted Asian businessmen and their families in neighboring Mozambique for decades.
Armed gangs have now started to target foreigners setting up businesses in South Africa as a result of this. Some of these gangs have sophisticated enterprises, while others have little businesses.
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What did SAPS put into place?
The rise in kidnappings across the country led the SAPS to create the Anti-Kidnapping Task Team in November 2021.

Finding potential culprits and kidnapping networks around the country has been the team’s primary goal.
The team has had some success in the two years since it was formed, looking into 134 ransom demand cases and making 124 arrests.
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The abduction epidemic is centered in the Gauteng province, which is home to Johannesburg, South Africa’s commercial city and the region’s economic core.
More than half of the cases to date have come from the province. However, gangs have started scattering all over the country in search of new prey.