The rise in kidnappings of wealthy businessmen for ransom could have a negative impact on the economy because future investors could be scared away, says Martin Ewi, a senior researcher with the Institute for Security Studies following the kidnapping of a Cape Town businessman.
On July 9, Liyaqat Parker, 65, was abducted by armed men at his business in Fairway Close in N1 City, Parow.
It has been almost a month since the kidnapping and Parker is yet to be found.
Last week a man suspected of being the mastermind behind the kidnapping of Parker was arrested by police in Thailand.
Interpol red-flagged the Mozambican national, Momade Assif Abdul Satar, after allegations emerged that he ran a kidnap-for-ransom business across Mozambique and in South Africa.
Thailand then extradited Satar, who is known as “Nini”, in Mozambique.
Ewi said the situation had become a huge problem for South Africa and that law enforcement needed to handle the kidnappings with more seriousness.
“South Africa has experienced various forms of kidnappings. It started with children being kidnapped for trafficking reasons, then it moved to kidnapping children for ransom, and now it has shifted to kidnapping wealthy businessmen for ransom. It’s a trend that is disturbing in terms of security, the economy and in terms of politics,” said Ewi.
He said the government needed to also up its intelligence gathering processes, but that alone would not work.
“There also needs to be public involvement with regards to identifying potential suspects,” said Ewi.
Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee confirmed that at least three businessmen were still missing and that he believed organised crime syndicates were involved.
“The same modus operandi being used in Mozambique is being used here. These are dangerous syndicates and police need to act with urgency,” Abramjee said.
The Muslim Judicial Council also expressed concern over the targeting of Muslim businessmen following the kidnapping of Parker.