We paid no ransom – Zhauns family

Woodstock businessman Sadeck Zhaun Ahmed, 71, who was kidnapped more than two months ago, has returned to his family.

No ransom was paid to free a businessman held for two months by his kidnappers, say his family.

Sadeck Zhaun Ahmed, 71, was freed on Friday September 29, according to the police.

The owner of Zhauns Business Opportunity Machines, Mr Ahmed, was abducted in Salt River on Tuesday July 25. Three men allegedly threatened him with a gun and forced him into a double-cab bakkie, while he and his driver were packing items into his car (“Search continues for kidnapped Zhauns owner,” Tatler July 27).

The getaway vehicle was later found abandoned in Victoria Road, Woodstock.

Despite media reports that the family had paid R20 million for his release, in a statement released yesterday (Wednesday October 4), Mr Ahmed’s family said no ransom had been paid.

Mr Ahmed’s abductors had dropped him off near the Rondebosch Medical Centre, where a passer-by had helped him and called his family, the family said.

His release had come as a surprise, said the family, because the abductors had given them no prior warning.

“There was no ransom paid by the family to Mr Ahmed’s abductors, as there appears to have been a case of mistaken identity. It took his abductors some time to realise that he was not the person they were looking for.”

The family said Mr Ahmed’s heart condition and health had deteriorated while he had been held captive.

“He had several blackouts during the period of his abduction. He believes that his abductors were concerned about the consequences of his deteriorating health.”

He had been blindfolded all the time and did not know where he had been held or who had abducted him.

The family said he had been disorientated after being released and was being treated for “severe somatic symptoms relating to his experiences during captivity” and was with his family recovering from the ordeal.

The statement quotes Mr Ahmed, saying: “This was a traumatic experience and I am relieved that this incident is finally over. There was nothing more I was looking forward to than being back safely with my family.

“My family was an incredible pillar of support over the last few weeks. It was an extremely stressful time for them.

“There were times that I felt that I would not see them again due to my failing health. I was allowed to speak to my family. That offered me some relief and hope.”

According to the statement, Mr Ahmed will take time off to recover from his ordeal before returning to work.

“The circumstances surrounding the case are still under investigation,” said provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel André Traut.