Risking it All for Animal Rescue: SPCA Cadet Inspector Hijacked in Khayelitsha

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Cape of Good Hope SPCA Cadet Inspector Nkosi Sindiwe’s quick thinking saw him survive a terrifying hijacking incident in Khayelitsha last night, 13th June 2023, when the SPCA vehicle he was driving was intercepted by 6 armed men. Handcuffed, and confined to the back of the SPCA vehicle, he bravely kicked at the bakkie’s tailgate until it opened and jumped from the moving vehicle, into the street.

This alarming incident highlights the immense risks faced by SPCA Inspectors in carrying out their animal rescue work. Unfortunately, it is not an isolated occurrence. “This is not the first time that one of our vehicles have been hijacked. In the last year we we lost one vehicle in a highjacking, had 2 attempted hijackings and now this incident” says Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse. 

The Plight of Our Inspectors

Many of the communities our Inspectors enter to help are plagued by high crime rates and violence and it is within this environment that our staff must navigate to make a positive impact on the lives of animals.  Their mission is far from easy; aside from the cruelty they witness on a daily basis, they often face verbal and physical abuse from animal abusers.  Now they’re facing criminal elements who seek to rob, kidnap and hijack. 

For our inspectors who dedicate their lives to rescuing and seeking justice for abused and neglected animals, it’s a huge personal price to pay.  

Cadet Inspector Nkosi Sindiwe
A Harrowing Hijacking Incident

Cadet Inspector Nkosi Sindiwe gives an account of the incident in which he was not only hijacked but also injured and robbed of his wallet and phone.

“I was driving in Khayelitsha at around 19:30pm last night when two vehicles, one in the front and one behind me blocked the road and 6 armed men appeared. Two of them were on each side of the vehicle and they banged on the driver’s window with a gun, I had to open the door or they would’ve shot me.  I turned off the vehicle because I knew they wouldn’t be able to start it without the transponder tag to override the immobiliser system.  I was trying to save the car because the SPCA desperately needs it to rescue animals but it didn’t work. They pointed the gun at me again and I had to show them how to start the bakkie.  They then robbed me of my wallet and cellphone, handcuffed me and threw me in the back of the bakkie and started driving.  I was scared for my life but glad that there were no animals in my vehicle and I only had to think of how to save myself”.

Quick Thinking, Kindeness and Bravery Saves the Day

Our quick thinking Cadet Inspector managed to position himself feet forward and bravely kicked at the bakkies tailgate and canopy lock with all his might. Fortunately, it eventually gave way and he threw himself with equal force from the moving vehicle and onto the road before running, injured from the fall handcuffed and screaming for help.

Fortunately, a good Samaritan was driving by and hearing our Cadet Inspector’s cries for help, responded by bundling him into his car and driving him to the closest police station.  He also let our Cadet Inspector use his cellphone to call our afterhours emergency number. To this individual we extend our sincerest thanks and gratitude.

Rapid Response and Vehicle Recovery

With thanks to the rapid response of the vehicle recovery team from Avis Pulse our highjacked vehicle was found abandoned just before 10pm last night. The signs of Cadet Inspector Nkosi’s struggle are sadly very apparent. 

The handcuffs were removed from our brave Cadet Inspector by Harare SAPS and he was taken to hospital to receive treatment for a badly injured knee. A case will be opened with Harare SAPS for investigation shortly. With thanks to your loyal supporters, our organisation can offer an extensive staff wellness initiative via our service provider ICAS and Cadet Inspector Nkosi will be able to receive trauma counselling. We thank our supporters for the privilege of being able to provide this service to our staff. 

The handcuffs used in the incident and our Cadet Inspector's cap
Harare SAPS assisted with taking off the handcuffs used to restrain Cadet Inspector Nkosi Sandiwe
Cadet Inspector Nkosi Sindiwe was treated at hospital following the incident
Resilience and Determination

While our Cadet Inspector takes some time off to come to terms with the trauma he has faced and to heal from his injury, he will be back at the frontline, fighting animal cruelty soon.  “This won’t stop me, I know animals need me and I will continue to go wherever they need help in spite of what happened to me”.  

Crime Wins and Animals Lose – Again

The SPCA is the only animal welfare organisation that offers the service of a 24hour response to animal cruelty but as an organisation that cares about the well-being of our staff, we have had to take the difficult decision regarding our response in high crime areas after dark.  We cannot risk the lives of our staff or risk the loss of our much needed vehicles.  Cape of Good Hope SPCA CEO Moyo Ndukwana says “Our staff are our greatest asset, and our team who have dedicated their lives to making a difference in the lives of the voiceless should be able to fulfill their mandate without fear. The sad reality is that they can longer do so.  It is a very difficult decision to make but staff safety is paramount and for that reason, our Inspectors will no longer be able to enter the area after dark without police escort”.

Cadet Inspector Nkosi Sindiwe with a dog he rescued

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