‘My mother was supposed to spend her 70th birthday in Mecca’, says victim of alleged Umrah swindler Shahied Davids

Shahied Davids is in the dock in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court. Picture: Supplied

Shahied Davids is in the dock in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 18, 2024


A Cape Town mother and daughter who were part of a group of 36 people swindled out of their Umrah money are calling for bail to be opposed.

Shahied Davids from New Age SA Travel & Tours will be appearing in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday, January 19, bringing forth a bail application.

Davids was arrested on Sunday, January 14, at the Cape Town International Airport for theft under false pretences after he was attacked by angry victims and relatives whom he had conned.

Davids landed before 6pm with Qatar Airways from Doha.

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 Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia.

Speaking to IOL, 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.

She even had her annual leave approved from December 27 until January 17.

“It was just me and my mom going. She had to spend her 70th birthday on Umrah. Her birthday is in January. We had travelled with him last year, and he had built a rapport with us, so I decided to choose him again,” she said.

The woman said she had travelled in the 2022/2023 year with Davids for Umrah and had visited Türkiye, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Mecca, and Medina, and she had an amazing experience.

The angry woman, who is one of the complainants who filed charges against Davids, said they lost R64,000.

“It was R32,000 each. I am not happy. Some people save for many years to go on this trip. “We were lucky we were there before. I am fairly young and might have an opportunity to go in the future. I feel bad for the elderly,” she said.

When pilgrims go on Umrah, there are many religious rituals, some of which include lots of walking.

“They (elderly) need to have strength to perform these duties, and there is lots of walking. I don’t know if my mom will be able to go again. It was so heartbreaking to see those over 70 — many who might have saved up for years — left stranded,” she said.

The fight for justice is not just for herself and her mother, but to prevent Davids from doing this to anyone else.

“He had ulterior motives. He had us travel with him and build trust, only then to take everything,” she said.

All complainants are calling for the court to deny his bail application.

The victim said what angered her was when they were present in court on Wednesday when Davids made his initial appearance, his family gave the victims dirty looks.

“His family was looking at us badly because we filed charges. But I don’t feel bad because his whole family was in Saudi Arabia for Umrah,” she said.

Claims have also been made that Davids even had the audacity to fly back to Cape Town in business class.

“He could have paid three people their money back. We are calling for no bail. I don’t want him to do this to others,” she told IOL.

Davids is currently in custody at Pollsmoor Prison.