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PE hijackers get 15 years

Woman abducted in Zwide and taken to Welkom before being arrested, police say

Police car lights. File picture
Police car lights. File picture
Image: Pixabay.com

Two Port Elizabeth men who hijacked and abducted a pregnant cleaner at a clinic in Zwide two years ago have been sentenced to 15 years behind bars.

This jail term is the result of an incident that happened at midday on October 17, 2016, when the two suspects hijacked and abducted the 30-year-old woman from the Kwadwesi Clinic in Asrayi Street.

The woman, whose identity is being protected, worked as a cleaner at the clinic and was nine months pregnant at the time of the abduction.

On the day she was abducted she had traveled to work in her husband’s work VW Polo – a leased vehicle.

Mzwanele Gumenge, 29, and Thulani Magalela, 26, were both sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for hijacking as well as five years for abduction in the New Brighton Magistrate's Court on Monday.

The abduction sentence will run concurrently with the sentence for the  hijacking.

Police spokesman Captain Andre Beetge said the hijacking and abduction only came to light after the men were caught in Welkom in the Free State.

“The woman was entering the Kwadwesi Clinic when the two males approached her and pretended to make an enquiry about a doctor.

"They produced a firearm and took her to the parking area and the VW Polo,” Beetge said.

“She was forced into the backseat and the men drove off with her to Bloemfontein.

"After she faked an impending delivery of her unborn child the suspects dropped her off next to the N1 and she walked to a petrol station where the police were alerted to what happened.”

An alert was sent out and the Welkom Flying Squad spotted the vehicle on the N1, leading to a car chase which resulted in their arrest.

“After the incident, and due to the woman being pregnant, she was admitted to the Pelonomi private hospital in Bloemfontein.”

Beetge added that the men were from Kwazakhele and Kwamagxaki in Port Elizabeth.

Beetge said the men first appeared in court on October 20, 2016, where Gumenge and Magalela were denied bail.

The duo remained in custody until their conviction on May 25 this year and then their sentencing on Monday.

Motherwell Cluster Commander Major General Dawie Rabie said the conviction was a result of great detective work and a joint collaboration between detectives in the Bay and Free State.  

"We cannot allow our community to be abducted this way.

"As police, we will do everything in our mandate to  investigate such crimes to ensure that criminals are apprehended and given sentences fitting their crimes," he warned.