Pretoria – Prominent Ga-Rankuwa residents Dr Vongani Marivate and his wife Dr Mpolokeng Molamu had just closed their practice at the family’s medical centre for the night and were heading home when a gang of 15 to 18 men pounced.
The couple were to spend the next 12 hours at the mercy of the gang before they were eventually dumped in Hammanskraal the following day.
On Sunday Marivate told of the terror they were subjected to and said they had feared for their lives during their time in captivity. However, he refused to speculate whether the incident was a hit and said he did not suspect any other motive but crime.
Their harrowing ordeal began last Thursday as the two doctors left Wisani Medical Centre in Ga-Rankuwa Zone 1.
Marivate said that as they were driving home, they were ambushed by a gang of thugs. A car stopped in front of them metres from the medical centre, effectively cutting them off and forcing them to stop.
“It was around 9.30pm on Thursday after we had just left the practice. We were intercepted. Then the men drove off with us,” Marivate said.
The gang took the couple’s phones, jewellery, money and other valuables. “They then drove around with us. They had covered our heads so we had no way of seeing where they were taking us.
“I was later thrown into the boot of our Mercedes-Benz. At that time they started to question my wife about where we lived, the contents of our house and if anyone was home.”
Marivate said that before going to their home, which is about 800m from the medical centre, their abductors drove around aimlessly while trying to disconnect the tracking device in their vehicle.
“They eventually reached our house and ransacked it. They took electrical appliances and anything of value that they could find. They also took our two other cars that were parked in the garage – a Porsche and a Mercedes-Benz.”
He said their captors drove around with them for the entire Thursday night and told them they would only be released if and when they removed the tracking devices from the vehicles.
“They only released us at around 10am on Friday after police were able to track down the vehicles.
“They said it wasn’t in their interest to do anything to us because the cars had been found. Two of the cars were later found in Pretoria central. The third was recovered in Midrand.”
Marivate said he was overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness throughout the ordeal as there was nothing he could have done to rescue himself or his wife.