A hugely concerning statistic has revealed that nearly 700 children have been kidnapped in the past five years, with 3 482 people having been kidnapped in total over the period between 2015 and 2019.
The shocking figure was announced by, the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) Mireille Wenger, who requested information on the disturbing rate of kidnapping incidents during Parliamentary questions last week, and has spurred the provincial department of community safety to pledge more vigilant monitoring of the trend.
Nearly 700 kids snatched
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said that 695 children were snatched during the period, and that this represents 20% of all kidnappings over the same period.
“The Department of Community Safety intends to prioritise the monitoring of child kidnappings due to the increasing prevalence thereof,” he said in his reply.
“Our intention is to develop a tool in conjunction with the Western Cape Children’s Commissioner and Department of Social Development to ensure that cases are monitored and tracked through the Court Watching Brief unit.”
He said that a specific focus on child kidnappings currently does not exist, but that the Department “will be highlighting cases when they are placed on the court roll and closed due to police inefficiencies”.
Court Watching Brief Programme to prioritise kidnapping prevention
Wenger said that the DA welcomed the undertaking to prioritise the monitoring of child kidnappings through the Court Watching Brief Programme.
“The number of child kidnappings has remained relatively stable year on year, however we would want to see a decreasing trend instead,” she said.
The following information was made available regarding incidents of child kidnapping incidents between 2015 and 2019:
DA ‘encouraged’ by kidnapping commitment
Wenger said that the DA will continue to monitor these crimes “to ensure that efforts have impact, and that we can save as many children as possible from this awful fate”.
“The trauma and devastation that this particularly cruel crime causes, needs active attention from authorities,” she said. “It is therefore encouraging that the Western Cape Departments of Community Safety, Social Development and the province’s Children’s Commissioner are teaming up to develop a tracking tool to ensure that these crimes are properly prosecuted by the criminal justice system.”