Mpumalanga police are investigating the kidnapping of a 13-year-old Katlego Marite in Witbank.
JOHANNESBURG - Kidnappings are on the rise at present in South Africa, according to Bianca van Aswegen of Missing Children SA.
Van Aswegen told eNCA that her organisation had dealt with 19 kidnapping cases from 30 May, 2017 until 1 April, 2018.
She said the case of 13-year-old Katlego Marite from eMalahleni, in which kidnappers have demanded the ransom be paid in Bitcoins was the organisation&39;s first case involving cryptocurrency.
Van Aswegen noted that Missing Children SA will not always get involved in publicity around kidnap cases, but will help the SAPS in the background with trying to find a missing child.
She advised that "when it comes to kidnapping cases, it&39;s like a missing person case, it needs to be reported to the police immediately so they can assist with the parents and also get some counselling for them so they can (work) through the trauma, and they (the SAPS) can assist them with helping to find the child as soon as possible."
In the Marite abduction, kidnappers left a note demanding a ransom in the form of Bitcoin, and warned his parents, "do not contact the police or else we&39;re going to kill your child."
Van Aswegen said victims must definitely still contact authorities, as they are the people that can assist, arrange help and also find the child.
She appealed to parents, "please do not go out there and search for your child yourself when it comes to any ransom demand, because it could be very dangerous, you&39;re putting your child in danger and yourself as well ."
Of the 19 kidnap cases, Van Aswegen said 75% of cases had resulted in children being successfully reunited with their families.
Van Aswegen advised Marite&39;s parents to stay strong, to believe their child would be found soon, and to trust that the police are doing all they can to solve the case.
eNCA contacted the SAPS but as yet have been unable to get comment on the latest progress in the Marite case.
Police have urged anyone with information that may assist in the investigation to contact Captain Africa Nyathi at 071 352 6007 or call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
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