Family’s kidnap anguish

Liyaqat Parker, 65, of Plattekloof, is still missing after being kidnapped last week.

The family of a businessman kidnapped in Goodwood earlier this month are waiting anxiously for his return.

Five men abducted Liyaqat Parker, 65, of Plattekloof, at his office at Stairway Close, The Greens, in N1 City, on Monday July 9.

Mr Parker is the founder member of the Foodprop Group, which owns the Foodworld chain of supermarkets.

He is listed as a director of the FPG Property Fund and Brimstone Investment Corporation.

He is also a board member of Al-Amien Foods.

Provincial police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyk said Mr Parker’s kidnappers – riding in a double-cab bakkie – had followed him as he had driven into the basement parking.

According to Captain Van Wyk, the kidnappers forced a security guard at the gate into a toilet at gunpoint, stole his phone and locked him up.

Then they went after Mr Parker in the basement, bundling him into their vehicle before driving off.

According to some media last week, the kidnappers had asked for a ransom of 50 Bitcoin for the businessman’s safe return, but the police could not confirm that.

The family’s lawyer, Walid Brown, released a statement last week, saying: “We the family of Liyaqat Parker confirm that our beloved father and brother was kidnapped from our business premises in Goodwood and placed into a double-cab silver Hilux bakkie, which drove off, as per the statement released by the police.”

The family described Mr Parker as being devoted to his family and an astute businessman who had built up his business through hard work, over many years.

They said he was a community worker and philanthropist who had served as a member of the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association for several years.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of support we have received. Our father and brother is an elderly man, so we also appeal to those who may be involved or know people who may be connected to the crime to return him unharmed before his health deteriorates.”

They asked the public to give them space to process the traumatic event.

Safety and Security MEC Dan Plato’s spokesman, Ewald Botha, said an alarming number of businessmen had been abducted in the province.

“Kidnappings in the province cannot become the new lucrative and profitable criminal venture.

“The recent kidnapping of Mr Parker has brought the number of apparent ransom extortion kidnappings to four cases over the last two years,” he said.

“Though this might not seem like a lot, the rand value money involved in the previous cases may be very lucrative if it is a lone syndicate operating, or might even seem enticing to those criminals always looking for the next opportunity.”

SAPS told the Northern News on Monday that there had been no new developments in the “highly sensitive case”.

“Our investigators have given the kidnapping case their due attention. This case is also investigated by our provincial detectives. Bear with us as we cannot divulge details of the investigation that has yet to be presented before a court of law,” a police statement said.