Prominent businessman kidnapped, R180 million ransom demanded


Yet another businessman has been kidnapped – this time a Pretoria entrepreneur with a R180 million ransom demanded for his safe return.

This comes days after a Cape Town business owner was abducted during a robbery and held captive for five days until his family paid a ransom demand.

The kidnapping of Sikander Kalla of Advance Cash n Carry Pretoria, the gruesome killing of his staff member, Imtiaz “DK” Suleman, and the R180m ransom demand yesterday sent shock waves through the business community, and Laudium, where both are from.

Suleman was said to have been shot four times on Tuesday afternoon on Rebecca Street in Pretoria West.

The pair were travelling in a silver grey vehicle when they were accosted by unknown suspects, who shot the driver, Suleman, and left his body slumped behind the wheel as they fled with Kalla.

“A ransom demand of R180 million has since been made for his safe return,” said a member of the Laudium business community, asking for anonymity for fear of being victimised.

While the police were unable to confirm either the kidnapping allegations or the ransom demand, the news broke on social media on Tuesday night, with a tweet from @Furak on Tuesday night reading: “My beloved brethren in humanity. It is with great sadness I inform you’ll that the FATHER of Madressah Hifzul Quran, Uncle Sikander Kalla, was kidnapped earlier today.”

It went on to say that “Imtiaz DK, who was driving Sikander home, was shot and is unfortunately no longer with us.’’

Police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters said yesterday that she was unaware of the incident.

However, residents said they were aware that the pair were confronted by armed suspects on their way home.

Crime-fighter and activist Yusuf Amramjee said that as far as he knew a murder and kidnapping case was being investigated.

Referring questions to the police, he confirmed that the family was not ready to discuss the incident yet.

Suleman was buried in Laudium yesterday with entry to the cemetery restricted to 100 people as per Covid-19 government regulations. He is survived by his widow and three children.

Last Tuesday, the owner of Central Supa Savers in Ravensmead was abducted during a robbery at the store and held captive for days until his release.

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said the man had been reunited with his family, but they had yet to make an arrest.

“According to the family, an undisclosed amount of ransom money was paid by the family to the alleged kidnappers on November 29.

’’Kidnapping and business robbery cases were registered for investigation. No one has been arrested at this stage. Investigations continue,” Van Wyk said.

Anti-crime fighter and a former community policing forum cluster head Hanif Loonat said he suspected the latest incident that happened in Cape Town was a result of a breakaway from the syndicate.

“My concern relates to why these people are not being brought to book? We need to bring in international help,” Loonat said.

In 2018, 65-year-old Layaqat Allie Parker, founder of the Foodprop Group, which owns the Foodworld supermarket chain, was kidnapped and returned after two months of being held captive.

In July 2017, the owner of Zhauns Business Opportunity Machines, Sadeck Zhaun Ahmed, was kidnapped outside his business in Victoria Road, Salt River.

He was returned to his family after two months, and although there were reports that a ransom of R20m was paid for his release, his family denied this.

In August 2017, local businessman Omar Carrim, then 76, was allegedly kidnapped, and was only released four months later, after appeals were made to those holding him to at least allow him to collect his heart medication as he had a chronic illness from which he could have died.

– Cape Times

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