No officer will permit ransom, says top cop

NO police officer anywhere in the world would allow payment of ransom money, Western Cape police commissioner Mzwandile Petros said yesterday.

NO police officer anywhere in the world would allow payment of ransom money, Western Cape police commissioner Mzwandile Petros said yesterday.

He was reacting to an allegation that police blocked payment of a R500 ransom demanded for a Khayelitsha toddler who was later found stabbed to death.

Speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town, Petros declined to comment on that specific case, saying details would come out in court.

"But non-payment of ransom was a matter of principle," he said.

"Globally, there's no police official who will allow anybody to pay ransom money to anybody. Payment of ransom money puts citizens at risk.

"I don't know what happened in this particular case [of the toddler]. Let this thing unfold in court.

"If a decision had been taken to block payment of the ransom, I do not know the rationale. That sort of decision is left to operational staff on the ground (at the scene)."

Also, it was not known if the suspect killed the child because he did not get the ransom, he said.

Three-year-old Viwe Mnembe was allegedly abducted last Thursday from a creche by her mother's former boyfriend, Mbulelo Bhadane, 24, who had reportedly demanded a R500 ransom from the mother.

Viwe's body was discovered on Saturday. Bhadane appeared in the Khayelitsha magistrate's court on Monday on abduction and murder charges.

Petros expressed concern at the number of child abductions in the province. "This is a very disturbing case and there seems to be no explanation for the cruelty. It is becoming a normal thing in the Western Cape, which is unfortunate. Each and every weekend an innocent child is abducted.

"We need to investigate this thing further. Why is this happening in Western Cape only," he asked.

Petros said he met local NGOs about the issue on Tuesday. - Sapa

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