Kidnapping: The New Devil Rising its Head in South Africa

Kidnapping is on the rise in South Africa!

Let’s get legalities out of the way quickly, at law kidnapping is the unlawful confinement of a person against their will, often including transportation/asportation. Kidnapping may be done to demand for ransom in exchange for releasing the victim, or for other illegal purposes. Kidnapping can be accompanied by bodily injury which elevates the crime to aggravated kidnapping.

If we take a step back into history, the statistics for reported kidnappings in 2010/2011 was 2,839 and there has been an upward trajectory of these statistics with an increase of more than 150% by 2019/2020. SA Police Service (SAPS) crime statistics for 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 showed there were 6,632 kidnappings that year alone, most of which certainly didn’t make headlines. South Africa is at risk of being placed on a “consolidated watch list” of countries viewed as kidnapping hotspots. Twenty-five countries, some of them “non-conflict countries”, and including Argentina, Turkey, Kenya, Madagascar, Colombia, Brazil and Mozambique are on the list.

Becoming Wealthy? The Unintended Consequences

The rising number of local millionaires, multi-millionaires and billionaires is providing a rich pool of potential targets for criminals, heightened by how freely the well-to-do travel the world for business and pleasure. In a sample of 100 kidnappings it was found that 52 kidnapping cases were for ransom while 13 were kidnapped for extortion. With advancements in technology, it’s now easier than ever for nefarious individuals to know your movements, your personal details, and also those of your spouse and children. Social media and even a simple Google search can reveal reams of information that, in the wrong hands, can be used to target you for ransom, kidnapping, or worse.

The most recent, high-profile case is that of the four Moti brothers, aged seven, 11, 13 and 15, who were kidnapped in Polokwane while being driven to school. They were allegedly captured by armed gunmen and were held for three weeks before being reunited with their parents. A News24 exclusive revealed the Moti family paid a R50 million ransom to get their children back.

How Does One Manage Kidnap Risk?

Like any risk management tool kit, the first step is to identify the risk and understand that the threat exists. The wealthier the criminals believe you are, the more of a target you become. The second step is to get in touch with a risk advisor/ insurance broker with strong security credentials and take a long and hard look at what can be done to increase your own safety and that of the ones you love. Such a partner can be vital in helping you assess your security weaknesses, advising you on preventative steps to take, and relieving you of the stresses associated with protecting what’s most important to you. The residual can be insured through a kidnap and ransom insurance.

Kidnap and Ransom Insurance (K&R) offer both risk consulting services and risk-taking solutions. The risk consulting services provide preventable losses and minimize the impacts of events beyond your control. The cover also includes expert assistance in handling a high pressure, stressful situation such as the kidnapping of a colleague or loved one. Immediate access to independent, experienced advisers to help at such a time can be invaluable, and is often the driving factor when purchasing a Kidnap & Ransom insurance policy.

The insurance cover also provides the most comprehensive risk cover in the market by covering all the following events within our main policy wording:

  • Kidnap
  • Extortion
  • Cyber extortion
  • Products extortion
  • Hijack
  • Wrongful detention
  • Threat
  • Disappearance
  • Express kidnap
  • Hostage crisis
  • Child abduction
  • Assault

We are also able to offer the following insurance coverages as extensions:

  • Business interruption
  • Cyber extortion business interruption
  • Emergency security evacuation
  • Product recall expenses
  • Stalking threat
  • Tiger kidnap

The policy reimburses all expenses reasonably incurred by the insured in connection with a valid claim.

Certain entities are more vulnerable to hostile incidents than the average citizen, including:

  • Employees and contractors of multinational organizations, especially those working in remote or low-resource areas.
  • Employees working in (or individuals traveling to) areas suffering from political instability and socioeconomic hardships.
  • Employees of domestically-based companies who regularly travel internationally.
  • High-net-worth individuals and families, including celebrities.

For more info regarding our K&R insurance and reinsurance solutions, contact our Specialist team – Nomtha Ngwenya on Tel +27 11 805 0086 or Email:

About Maksure Risk Solutions

Maksure Risk Solutions is an Afro-Global independent specialist insurance and reinsurance broker with business footprint in Africa, Asia, East & Western Europe, South America and the Caribbean. We provide innovative and tailor-made risk solutions in Insurance and Reinsurance as well as Risk Financing and Actuarial Consulting geared towards capital management and strengthening our client’s balance sheet. Maksure is also one of the major players in Captive Management (Establishment & Management) in South Africa, Mauritius, Bermuda and various other jurisdictions. We have access into the Lloyds of London with a deep understanding of African markets. Our global nature ensures that our clients access quality capacity as well as some of the world’s latest thinking and solutions