Johannesburg - Private investigators have pleaded with the Moti family to come forward and assist police in their investigation into one of the country’s most high-profile kidnapping cases.
This comes after a dramatic twist in the case, in which the family have seemingly refused to cooperate with police, and have relocated to Dubai.
On Sunday, it was revealed that the investigation into the kidnapping of brothers, Zia, Alwaan, Zayyad, and Zidan Moti, had hit a snag after the brothers had been interdicted from speaking to the police by their father, Nazim Moti.
Specialist investigator Mike Bolhuis said he was surprised by the Moti family’s decision to obtain an interdict against the authorities, blocking investigators from interviewing the boys or any member of the family.
“I suspected that the parents would do everything in their power to protect their kids. I predicted it all along. However, there are routes that need to be followed,” said Bolhuis.
“They need to reconsider their decision, identify police officers, private investigators, or lawyers that they trust, and they need to assist the authorities. I understand their hesitancy to trust the police due to corruption, but not every police officer is corrupt.
“We know that there is corruption within the police ranks, but this specific case has touched the hearts of the entire nation, and we all want to see justice being done, and we want these criminals behind bars.”
The key to making any arrests in the kidnapping case, is to interview the children, said Bolhuis.
“Since this case is known worldwide, it is important to catch these criminals and the only way to do that is to interview the children. It can be done very professionally and in a very sensitive way. There are ways and means to get as much information as possible in order to identify the criminals and catch them.”
In October, Zia, Alwaan, Zayyad, and Zidan Moti were on their way to school when a gang of suspects armed with R5 rifles and handguns, broke a window and then unlocked the vehicle.
A grey SUV then arrived on the scene and the children were bundled into the vehicle. The driver of the BMW was found some time later, He was unharmed.
The brothers attend the Curro Heuwelkruin Independent School and come from the wealthy Moti family, who run a successful car dealership in Polokwane. The family has been involved in the motor industry for more than 20 years.
The boys were found in Vuyani, three weeks after they were taken. They were unharmed.
It was later claimed that the family paid a ransom of R50 million for the boy’s return.
Bolhuis said it was also important that the family cooperated with police to end any speculation that there may have been ulterior motives for the kidnapping.
“It’s important that the family finds police authorities or investigators that they really trust. Once the kids are won over, police can get maximum information, otherwise you leave everything out there, including that there may have been ulterior motives. Could this have been a staged kidnapping? Was this all planned so that the family can leave the country with a great sum of money?
“I’ve worked on a great number of kidnapping cases where the kidnappings were staged and money laundering was involved in order to take huge amounts of money out of the country.I’m not saying this is the situation, but people are going to make a deduction of the situation because of the way they have left.
“The whole of South Africa has been behind the family in order to see the kids come home safely.”
Bolhuis also praised the police for their dedication and determination to find the kidnappers.
“The police are going out of their way for this case, we must thank them and support them. There are police that want to make a difference. Police Minister Bheki Cele has indicated that a further investigation will be done if there has been any crime by the family.
Bolhuis added that should the investigation not go any further, it would set a dangerous precedent for criminals.
“If this is just left and this kind of behaviour is deemed as acceptable, what does that say? However we have to compliment the police for creating an extreme unit and they have gone out of their way, but they can do nothing unless there’s cooperation from the family.”
“The family also took extreme measures and got an interdict against the police. Why would you go that far suddenly? That’s not right and it doesn’t sit right with me and that's why I’m suspicious.”
Advocate Herman Bosman, kidnapping incident manager at TSU International, said while complainants have every right to withdraw cases, as has the Moti family, the reasons and circumstances need to be investigated and verified thoroughly.
“It is important to determine whether the withdrawal was done out of free will without any intimidation or extortion,” said Bosman.
“To interdict the police in a criminal matter as serious as this case, preventing the police from obtaining crucial information, must without a doubt lead to an investigation on its own.”
However the case is only at its investigation stage, and far from having a court appearance, said Bosman.
“The current position is one of investigation that can lead to identifying the kidnappers and other criminal roleplayers. Victims (families and children) may also make use of social workers, psychologists, lawyers and other representatives (Kidnapping and Crisis Incident Consultants) to facilitate the process prior to any court appearance as part of the investigation.”
Bosman said he was also unsure as to why the family had chosen to relocate to Dubai.
“I do not want to go into detail and speculate about this matter specifically and reasons the family went to Dubai, but surely much can be done to protect all victims and still assist the police that has a Constitutional obligation and responsibility to investigate all crimes and prosecute the perpetrators in order to protect the inhabitants of South Africa.
“Not only were there alleged crimes against the children and family but also against the State looking at the alleged use of firearms and possibly other crimes such as funding Organised Crime Syndicates, etc.”