Moti family has right to withdraw kidnapping case, but investigation continues – police

Brothers Zayyad (11), Alaan (13), Zia (15) and Zidan (16) were kidnapped by seven heavily armed men. (PHOTO: Facebook)

  • Police say the Moti family obtained a court interdict barring them from interviewing the kidnapped brothers. 
  • The authorities say the investigation is continuing while they try and convince the family to speak. 
  • The boys were kidnapped last year and released three weeks later, reportedly after a ransom was paid. 

Police say while they are still trying to convince the Moti family to allow detectives to interview their sons, the family has the right to withdraw their case.  

On Sunday, police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Netshiunda confirmed the family had refused to allow officers to interview the brothers – Zia, Alwaan, Zayyad, and Zidan – about their kidnapping ordeal. 

The boys were kidnapped last October on their way to school in Polokwane. They were found unharmed in Vuwani three weeks later.

Netshiunda said on the night the boys were found, their father, Nazim Moti, refused to allow the police to interview them.  

EXCLUSIVE | Proof of Life: Inside the Moti family’s R50m ransom

“On the night the children were found, the father said, ‘You are not coming close to me or my kids, I am opting to get an interdict’, which he did. After that, he left the country. He left before we could do anything.”

The family is said to be in the United Arab Emirates. It is unclear whether they have emigrated or are visiting relatives. 

He said the police investigation was not closed, and they were still trying to convince the family to cooperate.  

“In South Africa, everyone has rights. Why do we have to contest an order where someone says, I don’t want to talk to you? As the police, our [job] is to do an investigation, and in our country, someone can open a case and withdraw it legally so, what can we do as the police? We are trying to persuade the family to cooperate because we are not giving up [on] the case. We are investigating.”

Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee said it was unfortunate that the family had refused to cooperate after millions in State funds were spent locating the children. 

Abramjee, speaking on eNCA, said: “It’s very unfortunate that the police are shut out from this investigation, but that does not stop them from continuing with the investigation.” 

Abramjee said it was still crucial for the police to try and find the gang involved.

“It is certainly a dangerous gang. We know they have heavy fire [weapons], and they had two or three vehicles when they took the children. They were brazen.”  

He said he would not be surprised if the gang were involved in other kidnapping cases.

“The failure by the family to speak to the police will allow this gang to continue to cause tyranny and target other families.”

Abramjee said police must consider charging the parents with defeating the ends of justice. But, Netshiunda said that was not on the cards yet.  

READ | Kidnapping has been ‘extremely traumatic’ for Moti brothers – family spokesperson

“For now, they were exercising their right. We cannot charge people for exercising their rights. It is their right to want to continue with the case or not. We wanted to interview them,” Netshiunda said.  

Abramjee said while he understood the trauma that the children had suffered, and the need for their family to protect them, it was also important to help the police to catch the criminals.

“The psychological effects, besides the physical effects of the trauma, continues for many, many months if not years. That is not a reason to not cooperate with the police. For police to have a successful conviction, they need the victims to cooperate.

“There could have been a better way to handle that. I don’t see any harm for the children to have been interviewed by police or police psychologists. The family is very, very strange. I don’t recall a kidnapping case where the family got an interdict so that police cannot interview them.”

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