Concern mounts for kidnapped Cape businessman

10 July 2018 - 12:07 By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Concern is mounting for the safety of Liyaqat Ali Parker who was kidnapped by five men on July 9, 2018.
Concern is mounting for the safety of Liyaqat Ali Parker who was kidnapped by five men on July 9, 2018.
Image: 123RF / Rafaelbenari

A family man who makes meticulous business decisions.

That is how an attorney described the 65-year-old businessman who was kidnapped by five men in the parking basement of his company in Parow‚ Cape Town‚ on Monday.

Concern is mounting for the safety of Liyaqat Ali Parker‚ a founder of the Foodprop Group‚ which owns the Foodworld chain of supermarkets. He is also a board member of Al Amien Foods and a non-executive director of Brimstone Investment Corporation.

Parker’s attorney‚ Walid Brown‚ said on Tuesday that he was a strict businessman and a family man.

“He owns businesses in retail‚ property and development - and other businesses and quite a few malls. The one thing I know about him is that he makes strict business decisions. His business is family run‚ all its directors are family‚” said Brown.

Police are investigating a case of kidnapping and armed robbery.

The family have not yet spoken about the ordeal.

The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) said it was “deeply concerned and dismayed” to hear about the incident.

“Our thoughts and Duas (prayers) are with the family during this challenging time. We request authorities to swiftly investigate and find Mr Parker. May Allah Almighty grant him a safe return‚” said the MJC.

Cape Town police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said Parker was abducted at his business in Stairway Close‚ De Greens‚ after being followed by a double-cab vehicle. A security guard was forced at gunpoint into a toilet and robbed of his cellphone.

Parker’s kidnapping is the latest in a spate of similar incidents. The rise in kidnappings of wealthy businesspeople for ransom in South Africa has raised serious concerns‚ with experts warning of a looming crisis if police are unable to clamp down on the crime swiftly and decisively.

Last year‚ Sadeck Zhaun Ahmed‚ a wealthy businessman from Cape Town‚ aged 71‚ was kidnapped in similar circumstances outside his business. He was later reunited with his family.

In April‚ the Sunday Times reported the Hawks and police had set up a task team to investigate the kidnappings of businesspeople by syndicates that demand ransoms. The Hawks revealed that 24 kidnappings had occurred in South Africa in the past 18 months.

Moulana Ebrahim Bham‚ secretary-general of the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa‚ said the community was troubled and concerned by suspected cases of kidnapping‚ which were once rare but now seemingly becoming part of a pattern.

“We appeal to the minister of police as well as the national commissioner of the South African Police Service and all relevant law enforcement agencies to prioritise these cases in order to stymie any criminal elements that are involved in kidnappings‚” said Bham.