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The safe return of Cape Town CEO Ismail Rajah after a 111-day kidnapping ordeal

Jun 29, 2022

By Neelam Rahim

It’s been 111 days since 69-year-old businessman Ismail Rajah had his freedom. Now, all this point later, he’s finally been rescued from his abductors.

Early morning in March 2022 changed Rajah’s life forever. He was kidnapped in Parow at Good Hope Construction – his company. Upon arriving at work, Rajah was met by people armed with AK-47s and packed into an Audi.

What happened after became a matter of police work and speculation. Daily Maverick classed the incident as “rick pickings”, where wealthy people become targets for kidnapping syndicates.

However, over 100 days later, Rajah was rescued from a house in Khayelitsha, where he was held captive. Eventually, ransom demands arose, leading the SAPS National Anti-Kidnapping Task Team to leap into the investigation, in line with police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe. The family was reportedly already on the thanks to Dubai to pay the cash. However, no ransom ended up being produced.

Two Mozambican nationals and two South Africans, between the ages of 30 and 38, are behind bars for the crime.

The four will appear in the Parow Magistrate’s Court on Thursday. However, it’s believed that the kingpin behind the operation hasn’t yet been arrested.

The latest arrest follows yet another one linked to an infamous kidnapping – that of Shireen Essop. A person related to Essop’s abduction has reportedly been identified.

Police are still trying to determine if these four suspects are a part of a syndicate linked to similar kidnappings within the Western Cape, per IOL.

National SAPS spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said, “Following his kidnapping, a ransom demand was made to his family. It’s reported that the family were already on the way to Dubai to expedite the ransom payment when the Saps National Anti-Kidnapping Task Team was roped in to analyze.”

“The team immediately mobilized the Special Task Force (STF), social group Investigators, Crime Scene Experts, and collaborated with private security. Just after midnight on Wednesday, the team pounced on an identified address and rescued the victim,” said Mathe.

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