Deputy Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Thabang Makwetla was hijacked by gunmen outside a clinic in Johannesburg on Sunday evening.
The assailants drove around with him and two security guards for more than seven hours before dumping them unharmed in a veld in the North West.
“This whole thing is strange‚” a police VIP protector assigned to the escorting of ministers and their deputies said.
Makwetla’s spokesperson‚ Ntime Skhosana‚ said the hijacking happened around 19:30 outside the Life Riverfield Lodge‚ a clinic in Randburg.
The deputy minister and the hospital’s security guards were dumped unharmed in Madidi in the North West around 3am on Monday.
“The men pointed a firearm at him and then also forced the security guards at the gate to get back into the car with them. The guards were put in the boot of the car while the minister was in the back seat‚” Skhosana said.
The gunmen took the minister’s bank card and cellphone‚ withdrew money‚ and then moved him and security guards into another vehicle in which they were driven around for hours.
After being dumped‚ another motorist assisted them to call for help.
The minister was driving by himself without any VIP protection.
The police VIP protector‚ who did not want to be named‚ said it was very rare that ministers and deputy ministers drove themselves.
“It’s only when they want to go somewhere private‚ but even then it’s rare not to have at least a bodyguard with them.
“This whole thing is strange. Maybe it will be a wake up call to government so that they can see what crime is really like and what the public go through on a daily basis.”
Makwetla had gone to the hospital to visit ANC stalwart Wally Serote.
Police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo confirmed the incident.
“Yes‚ I can confirm that the deputy minister was robbed and taken from Johannesburg and was dropped in the North West. That is all I can tell you for now.”