“They put pillow cases over our heads and threatened to kill us. I have never been so terrified in my life,” a woman from Broedestroom in Hartbeespoort said after she and her driver were hijacked by armed bogus traffic cops on Wednesday.
Precious Ratlou (39), a businesswoman, and her driver, Matthew Mohlala (30) were on their way in an Isuzu bakkie to Ratlou’s office in the Pecanwood golf estate at about 11:30 when they were stopped by “traffic cops” near the Sangiro poultry farm close by. “There were five of them dressed in uniform, standing around a white unmarked Toyota Legend with a blue light. I was on my phone and I heard the ‘cop’ ask for Matthew’s driver’s licence. As he reached for the licence, the ‘cop’ pulled out a gun and pressed it against his neck. “The next moment another one was at my door. We were pushed to the centre of the car. They took our cellphones, tied us up, put pillow cases over our heads and threatened to kill us,” Precious told Kormorant shortly after their ordeal.
“The strange thing was that, within sight, another group of traffic officials in marked vehicles were also standing along the road. The hijackers drove with us right past them.” The hijackers drove with Precious and Matthew about two kilometres further where they pushed her out of the car.
“I was tied up but managed to flag down an oncoming car and the motorist drove me to the poultry farm where security officers untied me and took me to my office.”
Precious alerted the police and tracker company, and stopped her bank cards that were in the vehicle. “The tracker company traced my vehicle to Randfontein where the main tracking unit was then removed. When the police did not arrive after some time have passed, I drove to Randfontein to see if I could assist in finding Matthew. I was really concerned about his safety.”
She received a call at 15:30 from a security company that had picked up the half-naked Matthew in Randfontein. “He was badly beaten, and only wearing his pants. He was severely traumatised.”
“According to Matthew, the ‘cops’ had stopped soon after I was pushed out of the car, and had changed into neat clothes. They forced him to give them the bank cards’ pins but only managed to withdraw R3 500 from a personal account. The other bank cards had been stopped. They had beaten and threatened to kill him. They dropped him off after forcing him to take off his clothes. We are just so relieved that he is alive. He was told by the man who found him that another hijacking victim from Hartbeespoort had also been dropped off there the previous day. ”
Precious said traffic officials are posted almost daily on the spot where they were hijacked. “I drive he same road everyday with my children. How can we trust traffic officials or police if we don’t know whether they are real. My biggest concern is that more people are going to be hijacked here. Where are the law enforcement authorities if they know these people are operating in our area. And how could the traffic officials who were nearby not see what was going on? It has been known for some time now that bogus cops are operating in the Hartbeespoort area. I am too scared to go anywhere at the moment. We are not safe in this area.”
The Hartbeespoort police are investigating a hijacking case.