Hafiz Talha Kazi survived a hijacking and kidnapping ordeal in Newlands West

Grateful to God to be reunited with his family unharmed, hijacked and kidnapped victim, Hafiz Talha Kazi, 28, says he is glad that his terror ride with three hijackers on Friday, from the Musjid Sufi Subhaani in Newlands West, ended ‘on a good note,’ after he was abandoned with his vehicle near a squatter settlement in KwaDabeka.

Speaking to The Springfield Weekly Gazette, Kazi said he prayed earnestly to God and an amazing sense of peace and calm enveloped him, enabling him to communicate with his hijackers without fear and panic. The Durban Muslim cleric had concluded his sermon at the Musjid Sufi Subhaani in Newlands West and had unlocked his vehicle when the gang of five armed suspects pounced and cornered him.

“I was stunned but did not retaliate. Worshippers who witnessed the incident unfolding screamed for me to hand over my keys. I complied as I did not wish to antagonise the suspects. I handed over my keys and my cellphone but the suspects instructed me to enter the car as well. I did as instructed with two suspects seated on either side of me at gunpoint and a driver for my vehicle. Two suspects ran away. I had my head down during the ordeal and communicated with the hijackers. What shocked me the most is how young they were as they appeared to be between 19 and 20-years-old. They were also very nervous and appeared fearful,” said Kazi.

“A shot was fired and the back window of the vehicle shattered but through it all, I remained calm. The hijacker who had a gun pointed to my head which he held down reassured me that they were not going to kill me. He addressed me as ‘sir’, and said they needed the car and money.

“I told them of my role in the mosque and enlightened them on how I believe in helping people. I offered to help them to get jobs but they said I must just cooperate with them,” Kazi added.

According to him, the suspects were dressed tidily and spoke well. Fate intervened more than 10 minutes after his terror ordeal commenced, when Kazi said the car’s clutch broke, causing the vehicle to halt. “The hijackers suddenly panicked and they fled, leaving me inside the car. I believe that the hijackers were not professionals and possibly attempted this crime because they saw the mosque attendees as soft targets,” Kazi said. His hijacking and kidnapping set in motion a huge contingent of crimefighters and he was found in KwaDabeka by police. Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said, “On 16 August, the victim from Newlands East was allegedly hijacked and kidnapped by three suspects. Police officers were alerted about the hijacking and they started to search. A
few minutes later, his vehicle was found abandoned at KwaDabeka and the
victim was also found unharmed. No injuries were reported and a case of hijacking and kidnapping was opened at Newlands East police station.”