ActionSA hijacking victims tell of ordeal

ActionSA’s Gauteng premier candidate, Funzi Ngobeni. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

ActionSA’s Gauteng premier candidate, Funzi Ngobeni. Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

Published May 8, 2024


“THE instructions were very clear that these guys carrying guns were looking for me. They told both of us to get into the car.”

These are the words of ActionSA provincial chairperson and Gauteng premier candidate, Funzi Ngobeni, who with youth leader Hlupi Gafane was abducted during a hijacking incident in Centurion on Tuesday night.

In a video statement posted on the party’s official X page, Ngobeni, who looks upbeat in spite of the traumatic experience, said his day started normally following an elections campaign in Orange Farm and ended up in Centurion in order to fetch a generator for the party’s election campaign.

Ngobeni had called Gafane, seeking her help in borrowing a generator. He detailed how when he arrived at Gafane’s Centurion home, he was followed by a car.

Suspecting that he was being followed, he took a detour only to be attacked by three men carrying guns as he and Gafane were loading the generator into his vehicle.

“It was around 6.30pm maybe. But I could see there was a car following me but I took it for granted. But I also said ‘let me see if the car is following me’, so I went around the street to see... it disappeared and I thought ‘that is fine’ and went past Hlupi’s house.

“When she was assisting me to carry the generator, that is when three guys walked to us. They were carrying guns and their instructions were very clear that they have been looking for me,” he said.

Ngobeni revealed that the unknown criminals drove with them for more than an hour before they were dumped in a place they did not know.

The party, in a statement released shortly after the recovery of the pair after 11pm on Tuesday, said it was grateful for their safe return following a frantic search, through their vehicle tracking company and law enforcement agencies, who together managed to locate them more than four hours after their ordeal.

“ActionSA confirms and welcomes the news of the retrieval of Gauteng premier candidate Funzi Ngobeni and youth forum chairperson Hlupi Gafane at approximately 22:45 this evening.

“It is confirmed that these ActionSA leaders were hijacked in Olivenhoutbosch at approximately 19:00 this evening and held by hijackers, eventually being located in the Benoni area,” ActionSA national chairperson Michael Beaumont said.

In spite of the incident, Ngobeni said he had not lost his resolve to help the party fix South Africa.

“We are grateful that our lives were spared and we are still here to be able to tell the story but, most importantly, we take this lesson to increase our resolve to really fix South Africa.”

The party confirmed that a case of kidnapping was opened by Ngobeni’s wife at Olievenhoutbosch police station in Centurion.

“ActionSA expresses its profound gratitude to the members of the SAPS who were incredibly responsive and is deeply humbled by the overwhelming outpouring of support and concern from South Africans,” the party said.

In his maiden crime statistics report in March, Gauteng provincial police commissioner General Tommy Mthombeni said the country was seeing a surge in kidnappings and other contact crimes.

He said the province had recorded 77 kidnappings for ransom between October and December 2023, with an additional seven people being kidnapped for human trafficking purposes.

“Law enforcement agencies are actively working to track and trace kidnappers using vehicle tracking devices and community networks,” Mthombeni said.

The Star

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