Instead of getting married tomorrow, a Durban couple will spend the weekend in jail after they alleged they had been kidnapped and held for ransom.
Durban - A Durban couple who were due to tie the knot on Saturday, are behind bars after they allegedly sent an SMS to a relative, falsely claiming they had been kidnapped and held for ransom.
Two weeks after the couple disappeared, it emerged on Thursday that the groom owed the bride’s family R32 000 in lobolo.
The kidnap for ransom plot was allegedly hatched as a desperate attempt to secure the cash to settle his debt.
The church had been booked, the priest’s services had been secured and the caterer had been paid.
The couple were due to say their vows at the St Aidan’s Church in Durban on Saturday morning, followed by a reception in the adjoining hall. A traditional Zulu wedding had been planned for Sunday in Umlazi.
But a relative who had promised to loan the groom the money to pay the lobolo, backtracked. The wedding could not go ahead if the lobolo was not paid, a relative said.
So the cash-strapped groom allegedly cooked up the kidnap plan with his bride to ensure the wedding went ahead as planned.
Now the wedding has been called off and the couple will have to spend the weekend in jail.
A task team, which worked for more than two weeks to find the couple, located them in Puntans Hill, near Springfield, on Thursday.
They are expected to appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday on charges of defeating the ends of justice.
A relative of the bride, who received the ransom SMS on October 21, alerted police and a case of kidnapping was opened at Durban Central police station.
Durban Central police spokesman, Captain Kephu Ndlovu, said the task team followed several leads before finding the couple.
“They were fine and could answer about the alleged kidnapping. “They were arrested and taken into custody.
“This was a waste of state resources and time. If they are convicted they could face time in jail and they may have to pay the police costs. This type of behaviour cannot be tolerated.”
A relative said she last saw the couple on October 19, when they had asked her to take care of their four-month-old baby.
She said the bride had told her they had a few errands to complete before the wedding.
She said she was surprised by their decision to leave the baby, as she was breastfeeding.
On October 20, the groom’s family were due to go to her home in Umlazi to pay the outstanding lobolo - in cows.
They had already paid a cash deposit of R7 500. She said relatives from throughout the province had been invited to attend.
But the bridal couple and groom’s family failed to pitch.
The relative said they had prepared meals and waited the entire day for the couple and the groom’s family.
She said on October 21, she received a call at 7am from an unknown woman who told her the couple had been kidnapped and would only be released for a ransom.
The woman then ended the call and sent the relative an sms, making a ransom demand.
She did not stipulate the amount. The SMS and phone call could not be traced. The relative then reported the incident to police.
She said for the past two weeks she had been caring for the couple’s baby and worrying about their safety.
Local church members held daily prayer services after the couple’s disappearance.
All the plans for the wedding had been finalised and the bride’s family were just waiting for the lobolo to be paid, she said.
She said she was shocked when police arrived at her home at 3am on Thursday with the couple in the police van.
She said she confirmed their identity and police placed them under arrest.