The family of missing Cape Town businessman Liyaqat Parker have appealed for him to be released as soon as possible.
“Our father and brother is an elderly man so we also appeal to those who may be involved or know persons who may be connected with this crime, to just please release him unharmed before his health deteriorates,” they said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon.
Parker, 65, was allegedly kidnapped by five unknown males around 09:10 at his business in Fairway Close, in N1 City, on Monday.
“Liyaqat is a devoted family man, a known astute businessman who built up the business through sheer hard work over many years, a community worker and philanthropist, having served as a member of The Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association for several years,” his family said.
They thanked the community for the outpouring of support they had received since his disappearance.
At the same time, they asked for the space and time to process the trauma.
‘Working around the clock’
A double cab light delivery vehicle had followed Parker as he was driving into the basement.
The armed men apparently forced the security guard at the gate into the toilet cubicle, where they took his cellphone and locked him up.
“They then continued into the basement where they forced the businessman into their vehicle and drove off in an unknown direction,” said Western Cape police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk.
He said detectives were following up on all leads and “working around the clock” to find him, as experts combed the area where he was last seen for clues.
Cases of armed robbery and kidnapping were being investigated.
Parker is a founding member of the Food Property Group.
He is a board member of Al-Amien Foods and a non-executive board member of Brimstone Investment.
Jamiatul Ulama, the South Africa Council of Muslim Theologians, had on Tuesday expressed concern at another apparent kidnapping.
“There has been a spate of kidnappings over the past two years. As such, our community is troubled and concerned by such suspected cases of kidnapping, which were once rare, but [are] now seemingly taking a pattern,” said its secretary general Ebrahim Bham.
He said Parker’s disappearance followed that of another prominent businessman and community member, Shiraz Gattoo, who had been missing since March 10.
‘Criminal elements involved in kidnappings’
“We have been made to understand that a Durban-based businessman was also kidnapped a few weeks ago and is still missing.”
Just under a year ago, on July 25, 2017, three armed men kidnapped Sadeck Zhaun Ahmed, who owns Zhauns Business Opportunity Machines in Woodstock, Cape Town.
He was eventually released at the end of August.
Muslim Judicial Council spokesperson Mishka Daries said that they had sent their sympathies to the Parker family and his colleagues.
“The family though has decided to deal with the tragedy privately. We respect their request but will avail ourselves when (if) they need our assistance,” she said.
“We continue to pray for Mr Parker’s safe return and appeal to the authorities to do everything in their power to find him swiftly.”
Jamiatul Ulama appealed to the police and law enforcement agencies to prioritise these cases “in order to stymie any criminal elements that are involved in kidnappings”.
“We pray for the safety of the kidnapped community members so that they can return and reunite with their families,” said Bham.
Police urged anyone with information regarding the suspects or witnesses to the incident to contact the investigating officer, Constable Chesron de Vries, on 082 493 8472 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.