A harrowing experience for an elderly Alberton North resident led to a large-scale search for the missing man.
Gerhardus ‘Gert’ Johannes van Wyk (74) was visiting the park on the corner 10th Avenue and Hendrik Potgieter Street when he was abducted by a suspect on September 20, Alberton Record reports.
Bianca Jacobs, niece of Gert, shared the story of the events as relayed by van Wyk to her.
According to Jacobs, Gert was visiting the park as he frequently does with his dog. A man approached Gert and asked him for a cigarette, which he gave to him. Not suspecting any trouble, Gert returned to his car when the same man walked up behind him and pointed a gun at him.
The man demanded to know where the money is. Gert denied having any money and after the man searched the vehicle and patted Gert down he discovered his wallet on him. Angrily the man wanted to know why he hid it and forced Gert to hide behind his car so as not to let people driving past see what is going on.
The man produced a knife and placed it against Gert’s side and told him he wants to show him something. Fearing for his life, Gert went with the man down to the nearby stream where his hands were tied by the suspect. He proceeded to take him down river, past the BMW garage to the nearby bridge. There the suspect forced Gert onto his back and tied his feet and then his hands to his feet. He demanded the pin numbers of Gert’s bank cards which Gert gave him.
While all of this was going on Gert begged the suspect to take whatever he wants, but please do not kill him. The suspect left Gert under the bridge, taking his bank cards and cellphone with him, and vowed to kill him if the pin numbers did not work.
While this was going on Gert’s dog returned to the family home where immediately upon seeing the dog the family suspected trouble. The family went to the park and being unable to find Gert there, alerted the authorities.
Various security groups, as well as police, joined the search for Gert. Eventually, the police chopper joined the search. A man standing near the bridge, Mielis Mokoena, saw the chopper searching around the area, and heard screams coming from the bridge.
He ran to the screams and found Gert tied up. He used a broken bottle to cut the ties and free Gert, and then ran to alert a nearby EMPD officer of Gert’s whereabouts. Gert was rescued by their combined efforts and safely returned to his family.
Jacobs would like to thank all those involved with the search for her uncle, which includes the CPF, CPS Security, SAPS, EMPD and ER24.
She especially wants to thank Mielis Mokoena for being the hero on the day and saving her uncle’s life.
By: Roedolf Walker / CNS