A distraught Sandton family have just one wish for the new year – to find out what happened to their son and, if possible, to get him home.
“We miss him, we love him and we just want him back,” Nazeer Mohamed’s distraught sister Zaheera said on Thursday. “He’s part of the family and we’re just not whole without him.”
Mohamed, 32, has been missing ever since he got into a black Nissan Navara with three unidentified men on December 7.
The men had arrived at Mohamed’s second-hand car dealership, NZR Motor City in Jules Street, just off the Joburg CBD. Mohamed told his mechanic he would be back in 15 minutes.
It wasn’t unusual for him to do this, his mother Shahieda explained. Mohamed, who had been in the motor trade for the past six years, would often accompany clients to the bank to collect payments or sign off payments.
Police and a private investigator hired by the family have been led through a maze.
Detectives assumed that if he was missing, he would pop up in due course, or if he had been kidnapped, his kidnappers would send out a ransom demand.
Instead Mohamed has vanished; his cellphone has been inactive since the moment he disappeared, and not a cent has moved out of his bank accounts.
Mohamed’s parents were alerted to his disappearance by the security company at the yard, after it phoned them at 6pm that Friday to say the gates of the dealership were open and staff wanted to go home, but didn’t know where Mohamed was.
“They told my father his car was still parked there and they didn’t know where Nazeer was. My dad rushed there and we then realised something was wrong when we couldn’t find him,” Zaheera said.
Zaheera received a muffled call on her mother’s cellphone the day after he disappeared, apparently demanding a ransom of R150 000. When the call was traced, it led to a payphone. There has been no contact of any kind since.
Private investigator Imraan Khan got a tip that Mohamed had been spotted, but when he checked it out, the informant had seen Mohamed days before he went missing.
When Khan checked the Navara’s registration plate, Amandla GP, he found it was false and registered to a white Mercedes-Benz truck.
He has been following tip-offs about the three alleged abductors across three provinces.
“We’re searching day and night,” he said yesterday, “but we’ve reached a dead end. We need the public to come forward and help with any information they might have about Nazeer.
“My brother and I live at home – we are taking care of our parents. A few days before he went missing, we all went out together as a family for dinner and he was acting normally. We would have realised it if something was wrong,” Zaheera said.
She refuses to give up hope.
“I believe he’s alive. I hope someone sees his photo and recognises him and he comes back to us,” she said, sobbing.
Mohamed is slightly built and 1.6m tall.
Anyone who has any information should contact Lieutenant-Colonel Hennie Punt at 082 319 9844 or the family on 076 891 5507.