CAPE Town police are on the hunt for four men who kidnapped a 21-year-old man from his family’s business while his horrified family were held at gunpoint.
This is the second kidnapping incident to take place in 10 days. The family are traumatised after the armed men stormed their home, where they run a takeaway business, and ransacked it before making off with Huzaifa Sange.
The incident took place on Friday night at their home in Newfields, Hanover Park, where the family run the Huzaifa Take Away.
Sange, who is from India, has been living in Cape Town for the past seven years with his brother, Usaina, and sister-in-law, Munazia, and helps run the family business.
Munazia told Weekend Argus that the family were traumatised after the men, who posed as customers wanting to buy food, stormed into their house demanding money.
“They said someone sent them to fetch money. They wanted to know where the safe was, but there isn’t a safe.”
Munazia said she had been putting her 5-month-old baby to sleep when she heard a commotion in the lounge.
“I heard my husband scream and I ran from the bedroom to the lounge. My husband, Huzaifa, and the kidnappers (were there). Two of them had guns.
“They told me not to scream and put the gun against my baby’s head. They said they would shoot her if I did, so I stayed quiet.”
A distraught Munazia said after her husband and Sange were told to lie down on the ground, two of the kidnappers stood over them with guns pointed at their heads while the other two ransacked the house for valuables.
“They took everything, cellphones, every cent, clothes, even my baby’s nappies, wet-wipes and baby bag.
“They even took the tikka chicken and chips.”
Munazia said the men, who appeared to be in their late twenties and were well-dressed, walked in without masks but put on face masks found in their bedroom before making off with the family car, along with Sange.
“I don’t understand why they took him when it is my husband who owns the takeaway. It could be because the shop’s name is the same as Huzaifa’s and that he had money in his pockets from the proceeds of the day. It’s all just confusing.
“If it’s money they wanted, they already took everything. We explained that we don’t have money because the business wasn’t doing well. They left us with nothing.
“All we want is Huzaifa. They can keep everything,” she added.
Munazia said they had yet to receive a ransom demand.
“The detective told us that this is something very unusual – to be kidnapped after a ransacking and that’s what’s making us worry.
“Huzaifa hardly speaks English and doesn’t know the area very well. We are worried sick,” she added.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said Philippi SAPS had registered a case of house robbery and kidnapping for investigation.
“They fled the scene with the family’s white Hyundai and a 21-year-old male in an unknown direction and are yet to be arrested,” he said.
Kidnappings of business owners and foreign nationals have increased in the Western Cape. Last week police arrested four men after a 31-year-old man was kidnapped at his business premises in McLaren Drive in Dunoon.
Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said the Special Task Force, Organised Crime investigators and Crime Intelligence arrested the alleged perpetrators, aged between 22 and 26, a day after the kidnapping.
“The suspects fled the scene in a Toyota Quantum in an undisclosed direction and contacted the relatives demanding a ransom in exchange for the victim’s freedom.
“The investigating team followed all leads and descended on a residence in Winnie Mandela Road in N2 Gateway, Langa, where they found the victim in a bedroom.
“The four suspects appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate court on charges of kidnapping and extortion.”
In January, another small business owner was kidnapped outside his store in Kalksteenfontein, near Bishop Lavis.
The 25-year-old Bangladeshi man was reunited with his family after they agreed to pay the kidnappers R100 000 in ransom.
The search for 69-year-old Cape Town businessman Ismail Rajah who was kidnapped in March from his company’s offices, Good Hope Construction by armed men continues.
The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s president Jacques Moolman said they were concerned about the number of kidnappings involving businessmen. Moolman said he believed that there may be more cases of business-related kidnappings, but since not all were reported, formal statistics may be understated.
“People are paying ransom with the deal to stay quiet. This is alarming in a country that has enough resources to have effective policing. Our people feel like their basic right to safety does not help without effective enforcement.”
Moolman added that the extortion created problems “especially amongst smaller business owners”.
The latest crime statistics between October and December last year, 2 605 kidnappings were reported.
Anyone with information can contact investigating officer Detective Lieutenant Colonel Gavin Sias on 082 4697 243 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.