Layaqat Allie Parker

Cape Town - The family of prominent Cape Town businessman Layaqat Allie Parker have made an earnest appeal to his kidnappers to release him unharmed, before his health deteriorates. Parker, founder member of the Foodprop Group, which owns the Foodworld chain of supermarkets, was kidnapped at his Parow business premises on Monday by unknown suspects.

The 65-year-old’s family described him as a devoted family man, an astute businessman, community worker and philanthropist. The family said that Parker was taken at his business premises in Parow and placed in a double-cab silver Hilux bakkie.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support we have received throughout the day, from various sections of the community. ‘However, we first appeal to anyone that may have information about this truly heinous act to please contact the police, the family or our spokesperson,” read the statement.

“Our father and brother is an elderly man, so we also appeal to those who may be involved or know persons that maybe connected to this crime to just please release him unharmed before his health deteriorates,” said the family.

Parker’s kidnapping comes almost a year after that of Zhauns Business Opportunity Machines owner Sadeck Zhaun Ahmed, 71, who was kidnapped outside his business in Woodstock in July last year. Ahmed was bundled into a car by three men with a firearm, who drove away with him, before releasing him more than a month later.

Parker is a board member of Al Amien Foods and a non-executive board member of JSE-listed Brimstone Investment Corporation Limited. During a visit to the business premises at Stairway Close, De Greens in Parow yesterday, the security guard at the entrance would not give comment to the media. The surrounding businesses were operating as business as usual. A security guard from other premises said that there had been no calls for increased security in the area.

One worker in the area said that the incident was the first of its kind for the business park. Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said: “Our crime scene experts are combing the crime scene for clues. “Detectives are following up all leads, and working around the clock in an effort to solve this case.”

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said the kidnapping of Parker had brought the number of apparent ransom extortion kidnappings to four over the last two years.

He said he would write to Western Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, and use the audience with Police Minister Bheki Cele later in the month to discuss this seemingly increasing trend. “I will also discuss possible measures both my department and the police can take,” Plato said.

Anyone with information about the incident can contact Crime Line anonymously on 0860010111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211.

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Cape Times