Kidnapped Moti brothers: South Africans urged to unite in prayer for their safe return
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Cape Town – South Africans have been asked to stand in unity and pray for the kidnapped Moti brothers from Polokwane, Limpopo, at noon today.
Change Agent Catherine Constantinides, a former Miss Earth South Africa who is passionate about the development and empowerment of women, children and gender equality, posted on Twitter: ’’At 12 noon the nation is asked to stand in unity & pray for the #MotiBrothers & their family.
’’Today marks the 3rd Day since they were kidnapped on route to school earlier this week. These are OUR children, let us share their picture far & wide & ask that any info gets brought forward!’’
Yesterday, she tweeted: ’’These are not just four children of a family from Polokwane, these are OUR children as a nation. I cannot begin to imagine the horror for the family & for these 4 boys.’’
At 12noon the nation is asked to stand in unity &pray for the #MotiBrothers &their family. Today marks the 3rd Day since they were kidnapped on route to school earlier this wk. These are OUR children, let us share their picture far & wide & ask that any info gets brought forward! pic.twitter.com/Ch9gAjKTEi— CATHERINE Constantinides (@ChangeAgentSA) October 22, 2021
The Curro Heuwelkruin Independent School, which posted a picture of teachers and pupils kneeling in prayer for their safe return, pleaded on Facebook with the public to help find the sons of wealthy Polokwane businessman Nazim Moti – Zidan 6, Zayyad, 11, Alaan, 13, and Zia, 15 – following their kidnapping on Wednesday morning. They were abducted by seven armed men dressed in white overalls on their way to school.
Yesterday, EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted: “All ground forces, let's be the first to find the culprits, we just want to talk to them. Attack!!!’’
The Moti family still has no idea where they could be and the motive for the kidnapping remains unknown, with no ransom demand having been received, according to police. A very large team of police officers countrywide, especially in Gauteng, are involved in the search.
#MotiBrothers why aren't the family putting out a reward. People will be more forthcoming with information. This could bring about new leads .— Neha Amin (@nehajugodev) October 22, 2021
Bianca van Aswegen, a criminologist and national co-ordinator for Missing Children SA, told Netwerk24 that since last year there has been an increase in the number of children who have been reported missing. ’’We have had to deal with a number of kidnappings this year,’’ she said.
Martin Ewi, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies and an expert on organised crime in Africa, said since 2016 there has been an increase in the number of wealthy families being targeted.
’’When children are abducted, it’s usually children of rich families. Criminals will spot a child, notice that the family are wealthy and think, ’Here is a chance to make some money’.’’
30 minutes of prayer for #MotiBrothers today. Put your hands together & pray 🤲 for the safe return of Zia, Alaan, Zayyad & Zidam who reminds me of my little one. Also let us continue to support their parents Nazim & Shakira as the search continues. Together we can get them back pic.twitter.com/74OPTkAD3o— 🚀 𝔽𝕒𝕚𝕫𝕖𝕝 ℙ𝕒𝕥𝕖𝕝 (@FaizelPatel143) October 22, 2021
Moti family lawyer Philip Smit, who maintains the kidnapping was ransom-motivated, told EWN: “The family is in distress and under extreme traumatic stress for their four sons.”
Smit said people from all corners of the country are offering assistance, the Polokwane Review reported. The Moti family have urged the public to help them with any information that might ensure the safe return of their children.
“We have received hundreds of phone calls. We just need the boys back. That is all we are praying for,” Smit said.
Lizette Lancaster, from the Institute for Security Studies, told TimesLive: ’’There is a high level of planning involved and it might be that these people are quite cool and collected and they know exactly what they are doing, they have done this before — and in that case, getting the police involved and making sure that you use all avenues to track down these children is quite important to make sure that these people are found and arrested.
“Of course there is always the risk that matters become almost hot ... They might choose to abandon the children somewhere or abandon their plans to ask for a ransom. But it was very well planned and the chances are that they will still (make a demand). We are just speculating.”
The 64-year-old driver had fetched the children from Nirvana and was driving along the R37 road around 7am on Wednesday, near the N1 bypass, when he was suddenly blocked by two vehicles, a white Kia Sorento and black Mercedes-Benz, while taking the children to the Heuwelkruin Curro school in Polokwane..
Seven heavily armed men approached the Motis’ vehicle and fired shots. The Moti children were forced out of their parents’ BMW and into another getaway vehicle, a Toyota Fortuner. Cellphones belonging to the boys were found in Flora Park.
In June, a Free State pupil, Bokamoso Shabe, was kidnapped outside her primary school in Jerusalem Park. Her grandmother was then contacted twice by two different people, who demanded a R50 000 ransom for the child’s safe return.
A 46-year-old man was arrested man in connection with the incident when he led police to the area where the body was found wrapped up with a duvet cover in an open field.