Cape Town – Concerned businessmen in Indian and Pakistani communities say the spate of kidnappings over the past five years can be attributed to the police’s inability to infiltrate and arrest the perpetrators.
Their outrage comes in the wake of last week’s kidnapping of wealthy city businessperson Noor Karriem, the owner of Giant Hyper in Epping.
A week after his disappearance, police spokesperson André Traut indicated that there were no new developments in the case.
Karriem was allegedly forcefully removed from his business by unknown assailants.
A concerned businessperson said: “Several businesspeople have been abducted since 2016. Police have failed to make any arrests and it seems they have done nothing to curb this. If this was in the UK or America, the police would have made a breakthrough by now. Our police need to engage with their Pakistani counterparts on allegations that their countrymen are behind the kidnappings.
“Up until today we have no clue who orchestrated these crimes. We are businesspeople who contribute to the fiscus of this country and provide employment. Not all of us are involved in crime,” the person said.
One of the businesspeople added that Karriem was a person who helped both Muslim and Christian people when they were in need, and recalled one incident where he settled the amount a Christian woman owed.
Following the disappearance of Karriem, a specialist investigator into serious, violent and economic crimes, Mike Bolhuis, said that a Pakistani syndicate along with underworld and bank informers meticulously scrutinised the financial affairs of prominent Indian and Pakistani businesspeople before kidnapping them. He recalled one case where the ransom money was paid to the syndicate in Dubai.
Yusuf Abramjee, South Africa’s unofficial crime fighter, concurred with Bolhuis, affirming that these kidnappings were well planned with inside information on their targets.
Martin Ewi, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, said: “Research we’ve carried out based on police reports found a group of Pakistanis was behind the kidnappings.”
Pakistan deputy high commissioner Adnan Javaid on Monday indicated he was unable to state his country’s position regarding the claims.