Shiraz Gathoo, the owner of Devland Cash and Carry in Eldorado Park, was allegedly abducted by a group of armed men posing as police, on the N12 in Johannesburg on Saturday. File picture: Skyler Reid

Durban - Police are remaining tight-lipped following the “abduction” of yet another high profile businessman in Gauteng over the weekend.

Shiraz Gathoo, the owner of Devland Cash and Carry in Eldorado Park, was allegedly abducted by a group of armed men posing as police, on the N12 in Johannesburg on Saturday.

According to reports, Gathoo was pulled from his vehicle and shoved into another one by his alleged abductors.

However, anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee has dismissed reports that a ransom had been demanded.

Both Abramjee and police have described the latest incident as highly sensitive and refused to provide more information.

“The case is still in its early stages. I am in communication with the family and police and no such (ransom) demands have yet been made,” said Abramjee.

He requested that the media give Gathoo’s family “space”.

Abramjee added that a Durban businessman, an ex-Mozambican who owns a hotel, was abducted a month ago and has yet to be found.

Last year POST reported on the spate of abductions of mainly wealthy men, primarily of Indian origin.

In a year, about 15 cases of kidnappings were reported.

Late last year, the body of 32-year-old North West businessman, Hasan Parvej, was found after he was abducted from his store, 70km from Mahikeng. He was kidnapped for R1 million ransom. 

His family only managed to raise R70 000 and allegedly asked for more time.

On December 27, Shamshuddin Patel, 44, of the SI Hardware Group, was kidnapped in Thohoyandou in Limpopo after being stopped by men dressed in traffic police uniform.

The gang demanded R6m cash and threatened to kill the businessman if the cash was not paid immediately. 

Patel was released unharmed at the Capricorn Toll Plaza.

Also in December, Pretoria businessman Omar Carrim, 76, was released after being held captive for 137 days.

It is believed the family was forced to pay a large ransom.

A few months earlier, Cape Town businessman Sadek Zhaun Ahmed was released after being kidnapped and held for several weeks.

He also reportedly paid a large ransom.

Businessman Naushad Deshmukh Khan, 46, of Cape Town was kidnapped in late 2016 and held for weeks. 

He is believed to have paid millions of rand in ransom and was freed.

“Fear has gripped the community. If this scourge is not stopped, people will continue to, not only be kidnapped, but will die,” said Abramjee.

“The authorities need to put together an intelligence unit, to specifically deal with this type of crime. They need to make arrests and beef up police operational activity.”

Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, the national SAPS spokesperson, said the kidnapping of any person was a serious concern.

“We ask that people, especially businessmen and women, take reasonable precautions to safeguard themselves. We will also welcome any information on syndicates or individuals that may be committing these crimes. This will enable us to respond pro-actively.”

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