‘Umrah swindler’ investigated by Commercial Crimes Unit

Shahied is accused of swindling Umrah Pilgrims. Picture: Supplied

Shahied is accused of swindling Umrah Pilgrims. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 16, 2024


The man accused of swindling Umrah pilgrims out of more than R1.2 million is set to face the music in court this week.

Shahied Davids, 58, is being investigated by the Commercial Crimes Unit after those left stranded last month opened criminal cases against him.

Davids, who runs New Age SA Travel & Tours, was met by an angry crowd when he arrived at Cape Town International Airport on Sunday at 6pm, on a Qatar Airways flight from Doha.

Videos of the mob tackling him and calling him a thief have gone viral on social media.

Davids, who was dressed in a white prayer top, was whisked away by police for his own protection.

The travel agent made headlines after more than 30 pilgrims reported that they had each paid him more than R35 000 to go on Umrah in December.

Many of the travellers were shocked and heartbroken to learn while checking in that their flights to Saudi Arabia via Air Ethiopia had been cancelled without notification.

Davids said at the time: “I can confirm that no flights were cancelled by me. (The) number of passengers affected is 34. This I’m discussing with our flight agent and will revert to you soonest.”

The victims took to social media on Sunday and warned Davids that he “cannot run from Allah”.

Abdul Abdurahman wrote on Facebook: “Let this serve as an example to any other scammers doing the same.”

Grassy Park Station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Cleo Arnoldus confirmed that five cases were registered at the station in December and said the matter was now being investigated by the Commercial Crimes Unit.

“At Grassy Park SAPS, we opened five dockets for theft under false pretences. According to the complainants, they lost an average of R35 000 each,“ she said.

“The suspect was arrested and brought to our station.

“For his protection, he was moved to an undisclosed station and will appear in court once charged.”

Shahied walked straight into the crowd who was awaiting his arrival. Picture: Supplied

Cape Town Ulama Board spokesperson, Shaykh Sayed Ridhwaan, slammed Davids and called on victims to lay criminal charges if they had been swindled.

“Leaving pilgrims stranded after accepting their payment is not only unethical, but it is also a blatant act of robbery.

“We strongly encourage every affected pilgrim to take legal action against Shahied Davids.

“By laying charges against him, we can ensure that justice is served and that others are protected from falling victim to similar fraudulent practices in the future.

“We urge the relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate this matter and take appropriate action against Shahied Davids and New Age Travels.

“It is crucial that such unethical practices are met with severe consequences, in order to protect the rights and interests of those seeking to fulfill their religious obligations,” he said.

If you have been swindled by Davids, call Sergeant Herman on 067 156 4230.

Independent Media reached out to a few of the victims but they declined to comment.

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