The Cape Town man alleged to have swindled people out of their Umrah money has been denied bail in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Shahied Davids from New Age SA Travel & Tours faces charges for theft under false pretences.
On December 27, 36 people, young and old, from around Cape Town were intending to leave the country to perform the sacred pilgrimage of Umrah. However, this never happened, as they were left stranded at the airport after their flights had been cancelled.
Individuals paid R40,000 per person for flights and accommodation through Davids’ travel agency.
Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, located in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia.
People have been calling for Davids’ head since his arrest at the Cape Town International Airport on Sunday, January 14. He was attacked by angry victims and their relatives as he disembarked at the international arrivals terminal.
At the time, Davids landed before 6pm with Qatar Airways from Doha.
The case is currently being investigated by the Commercial Crimes Unit.
Several people have come forward on social media platforms, saying this was "not his first time". Many also claimed to have been swindled out of their money or that relatives he owed years ago had since died before getting their money back or even performing the important pilgrimage.
Speaking to IOL previously, one of his victims, a 38-year-old woman from Athlone, said she was excited to leave for Umrah with her mother, who was supposed to celebrate her 70th birthday in Saudi Arabia.
The angry woman, who is one of the complainants who filed charges against Davids, said they lost R64,000.
The provincial spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Eric Ntabazalila, confirmed bail was denied for Davids.
The matter has been postponed until January 31.