From victim to survivor

Leoni Kruger
LEPHALALE — Michelle Mvundura (20), was one of a group of people travelling to Musina to renew their passports, on Monday 3 October. The taxi they were travelling in broke down. Another taxi picked them up and took them to a T-Junction where they were picked up by a bus,that took them to Musina.
In Musina Town, unknown people offered them a lift to the place where they had to take their passports for renewal.
According to WO Frans Mokoena, Lephalale Police spokesperson, the driver then suddenly demanded R400 for transporting them. Thereafter he demanded R600 and when they told him that they didn’t have that kind of money, he became aggressive and started to insult them. The driver refused to take them to Musina, but took them to Makhado where they were kept in an old house throughout the night. At 04:00 on Tuesday morning, Michelle managed to phone her mother to inform her that she and some others were hijacked.
WO Mokoena says that some people with church uniforms joined the hijackers at that stage and they took the victims to Johannesburg – into what seemed to be a dark underground parking area.
W.O. Mokoena says the hijackers were very clever and never used their own cell phones to demand money from the victims’ parents. They used the victims’ phones. They first demanded R2 000 from Michelle’s mother, then R200, R1 500 and later R700. They supplied a money market account number to deposit the money into. This account number was also one of the victims’ account numbers. The last amount of R700 had to be deposited into a Capitec Bank account. They apparently repeatedly said that they needed money. According to Michelle they had a lot of cash with them – including ZIM dollars.
WO Mokoena says the hijackers separated the men from the women on Tuesday. One man succeeded in escaping – and he reported the incident at Hillbrow Police.
Michelle and some of the other victims were released on Wednesday after their parents paid the large amounts of money demanded by the suspects.
WO Mokoena says the cars used in the hijacking were hired. No arrests have been made yet but the case is being investigated. Michelle and her mother thanks Comfort Nkosi and Nthabiseng Lefawane who supported them during this difficult time.
Both Michelle and her mother work in Onverwacht.

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