A HOGSBACK woman’s 20-hour kidnap drama has been linked to the failure of a freelance herdsman to pay an East London businessman R10 000 for his Christmas bull.
Arrests are imminent as police investigate how Thomboxolo Ndolela, 31, was seized from her boyfriend’s room at a forestry company at midnight on Monday by the businessman and three henchmen and driven off into the night.
Eastern Cape police spokesman Lieutenant Khaya Tonjeni said Alice police were investigating a case of kidnapping after a complainant reported a kidnapping and financial extortion incident.
“The complainant alleged she was assaulted and beaten. The SAPS can’t confirm any stabbing.,” he said.
“All SAPS resources, including air support, the K9 unit, hostage negotiators and the tactical response team were summoned to assist with the search and rescue of the complainant.
“No one has been arrested but the investigation continues. Police are following crucial information . . . Arrests are imminent.”
Ndolela’s family said East London investigator Christian Botha tracked the kidnappers down to Amalinda a few hours later.
Ndolela’s cousin, life insurance broker Simon Xego, 35, said the kidnappers had started calling at 5am on Tuesday to demand the R10 000 for the bull.
Xego said Ndolela’s boyfriend had claimed the bull had been stolen while under his care.
Xego said the boyfriend and his brother sold the bull to the businessman earlier this year and were asked to keep it on the mountain commonage until this month.
“But they lost it or it was stolen and the owner has been demanding his money. But they cannot afford to pay it,” he said.
“The owner of the bull arrived at midnight and banged on the doors and windows. The boyfriend escaped but Thomboxolo could not so they took her, two cellphones, money and anything of value.”
The kidnappers called the family to say they were holding Ndolela at a secret place until the R10 000 was paid into a bank account.
Xego claimed Hogsback police told the family to pay the bill. “They saw it merely as a dispute.”
Ndolela’s gardener brother, Sakhumzi, approached his employer Wouter Jordaan, co-owner of the retreat The Edge, who agreed to loan him the R10 000.
Jordaan transferred the sum into a bank account given by the kidnappers at 6am on Tuesday, Wouter’s partner Peter Colyvas said.
But the transfer took longer than expected and the family had to send a photograph of the proof of payment via Whatsapp.
Xego, in desperation contacted his boss, who said to call Botha.
Xego said the kidnappers suddenly changed their attitude, accepted the money had been paid and said they would drop Ndolela off at an East London hiking point.
He said she was dropped off in East London at 8pm on Tuesday.
Calls and messages sent to the bull owner were not answered.