It was chaos on Sunday as alleged Umrah swindler, Shahid Davids from New Age SA Travel & Tours landed at Cape Town International Airport.
Davids landed before 6pm with Qatar Airways from Doha. He is wanted by several Capetonians after he allegedly swindled them out of thousands.
Defrauded victims and their families stood waiting for Davids to exit from the international arrivals wing of the airport.
On December 27, 36 people, young and old, from around Cape Town were intending to leave the country to perform the sacred pilgrimage of Umrah. However, this never happened as they were left stranded at the airport after their flights had been cancelled.
Umrah is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims, located in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia.
Video footage and images of people confronting Davids have since gone viral. People were angrily asking for the return of their hard-earned money. Charges were filed against Davids.
Speaking to IOL, TV Talk show host and human rights activist, Faizal Sayed who had been exposing Davids, said this is not the first time people were swindled by the travel agent.
He agreed with people headed to the airport to confront Davids who he said has been gallivanting the streets of Saudi Arabia as those same people were stuck home on the streets of Cape Town.
“We need action to protect the rights of our mutamireen. While we see those other lots of criminals stop the South Africans from going into one of the three Harams, Al Aqsa, we have our own criminals here stopping our people from going into the Harams of Makkah and Madinah right from here. This is enough now,” Sayed said.
While on his social media pages before Davids’ landing, Sayed asked people to refrain from violence but rather ask what they need to and instead of lifting hands to rather use those hands to write out a statement to file charges against him.
“Use your hands to lay the charges because I am telling you that we are dealing with this crook for very long. He is a repeat offender and if you, those who are robbed yet again, do not proceed by using the law, then you are failing the community that he will rob in the future just like he robbed you,” Sayed said in his post.
In December, speaking to Cape Argus, Davids said flights were not cancelled by him and confirmed the number of affected pilgrims was 34.
“This I’m discussing with our flight agent and will revert to you soonest,” he told the publication.
At the airport, as Davids tried leaving the arrival wing, people got frustrated, many called for their money back. Davids ignored the cries as he walked on with his luggage, however, in some video footage, he can be seen being pulled by his clothing by angry people.
Police soon had to intervene as the crowd grew rowdy in anger as Davids stood like a deer in headlights being filmed from every angle.
He was arrested and taken away by police.
The Western Cape spokesperson for police, Sergeant Wesley Twigg confirmed the arrest.
“In response to your media enquiry be advised that a 58-year-old suspect was arrested for theft under false pretences on Sunday, January 14, 2024. The docket is investigated by the Commercial Crime Unit. The suspect will appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court once he has been charged,” Twigg said.