While there was relief all round at the safe return of the Moti brothers, Zia, (15), Alaan (13), Zayyad (11) and Zidan (7), on Thursday after their kidnapping en route to school in Polokwane on 20 October, there are growing calls for the crime to be made a national issue.

SA Police Service (SAPS) crime statistics for 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 showed there were 6,632 kidnappings that year alone, most of which certainly didn’t make headlines.

The Moti boys, sons of businessman Naazim and his wife, Shakira, were reportedly dropped off and made their way to the home of a Vuwani resident before being reunited with their families. 

It is unknown at this stage whether a ransom was paid. The police are interviewing the boys and have remained tight-lipped about the investigation. The full story has not yet been told, and may never be.

The figure for reported kidnappings in 2010/2011 was 2,839 and the upward trajectory of this particular crime by 133% by 2019/2020 places South Africa at risk of being placed on a “consolidated watch list” of countries viewed as kidnapping hotspots.

Twenty-five countries, some of them “non-conflict countries”, and including Argentina, Turkey, Kenya, Madagascar, Colombia, Brazil and Mozambique are on the list.