News24

Gift of the Givers founder hijacked

2012-06-15 09:16

Pietermaritzburg - The founder of the world-renowned Gift of the Givers organisation, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, has had a lucky escape after he and his wife Zohra were targeted by criminals outside their Pietermaritzburg home on Thursday.

The organisation has reached out to South Africans and people in need throughout the world.

Neither Sooliman nor his wife was harmed, even though a gun was held to his head.

However, his sister-in-law’s car and some of his personal belongings were stolen.

'I want to shoot you'


Speaking to The Witness on Thursday night, Sooliman said he was returning from King Shaka International Airport in a car belonging to his wife’s sister.

As they approached their home, a black Toyota was parked nearby with its lights off. As they parked the car, the vehicle approached.

He said he was not sure whether the men in the Toyota were waiting for him, especially as he was not driving his own car.

“This car was a BMW and it attracts a lot of attention. The guy wearing a balaclava put his gun to the window and I tried to talk him down. I wanted to steer him away from my wife and I told him I would get him the money.”

Sooliman got out of the car.

“The one who held a gun tried to force me to go into the boot, which I refused to do because there was little chance of survival if I did that.”

Sooliman described how he tried to lure the men away from the car and his wife.

“So I tried to buy some time. I gave the man the money, the cellphone and said what more do you want? He said ‘I want to shoot you’ and I said ‘For what?’.”

Sooliman told the gunman he had money in the house. “We walked slowly there because I was trying to delay this, hoping another car would drive past.

Not terrified

Another of the attackers - who was now driving the BMW convertible - pulled up next to Sooliman.

“I asked them to let my wife go because they now had everything.”

The men then fled.

Sooliman said the incident had not terrified him. “I have been in many dangerous situations all over the world. I have been bombed. I have been shot at, so I was not scared, I was just worried about my wife because she was a soft target.

“I still love this country, and in fact this has strengthened my resolve that we need to fight this.”

- Anyone with information about the incident should call investigating officer Pipes Haffajee at 079 5000264.

Comments
  • Jaco.Botha7 - 2012-06-15 09:25

    May he receive ten times back what was taken from him

      NrGx - 2012-06-15 11:48

      I hope so! - what really irks me is one can do so much to help, but at the end of the day, you are more likely to be killed by the same people you sought to help!

  • chris.rams.9 - 2012-06-15 09:37

    Not to u Soolman,thanks fo u a resolve comments and best tactics. These useless marauding criminals should be shot dead full stop.

  • Nompumelelo - 2012-06-15 09:40

    Unfortunately, this is the kind of life we have to put up with in our land... It's good though that Dr and Mrs Sooliman were not physically harmed. May they both find comfort in that their lives were spared and I wish them well. It is only the emotional trauma they have to deal with. Toughy that the most dangerous place is entrance to your home!!! That is a sad fact in RSA.

  • toohotdurban.durban - 2012-06-15 09:44

    thank the almighty who gave you strength to remain calm and focus on the situ

  • sugan.munsamy.5 - 2012-06-15 09:45

    These people want to kill the hands that feed them. Not suprised. Glad that you well.

  • Bless Boswell - 2012-06-15 09:51

    A very brave man.

  • nigel.burgess.52 - 2012-06-15 09:57

    What a wonderful 'African' story. T.I.A. At least there was no mistaking that he was indeed back home in S.A.

  • Vuyo - 2012-06-15 09:58

    This type of criminality is not driven by need , these criminals live extravagant life-styles , as they know that crime pays in SA since everyone has a right . It is time that criminals lose some of their rights , as they make our lives unbearable also .

      mike.leggatt.3 - 2012-06-15 12:23

      Couldn't agree more. Time law abiding citizens were given some rights too!Time for a counter-balance before the scale tips over...

      nigel.burgess.52 - 2012-06-15 14:26

      You are so right. The socio-economic excuse is part of it, but a little overused. There's a lot more to the problem than poverty. Some people are simply criminals, rich/poor, that's what they do. Bombing an auto bank machine is a far cry from stealing a loaf of bread because you're hungry.

  • sabiha.lockhat - 2012-06-15 09:59

    how ungrateful to kill a man who does so much for happiness of mankind, butcos of his goodness God wont let him get harmed, good people get rewarded.

  • Denzil - 2012-06-15 10:04

    Sooliman talks so fast, these hijackers must have really had a hard time understanding what he was saying. I have trouble understanding him on the radio. :)

      sabiha.lockhat - 2012-06-15 15:36

      what the difference talk fast /slow , being important famous or not -fact is this country is not safe

  • UncleShep - 2012-06-15 10:14

    ???? ????? ?? ?????!

  • jomardl - 2012-06-15 10:14

    I don't understand how we have come to a place where one is considered "lucky" for not getting murdered. Robberies are common in many parts of the world but there are few places where it is almost expected that the robbers will murder you just for the hell of it. What kind of monstrous people are these??

      nigel.burgess.52 - 2012-06-15 14:26

      True.

  • Peter - 2012-06-15 10:20

    ITS WITH SADNESS THAT GOOD PEOPLE LIKE MR SOOLIMAN BECOMES A TARGET OF CRIME BECAUSE OF THERE KINDNESS.LETS USE THIS NEGATIVE EVENT AS A STEPPING STONE FOR A POSITIVE CHANGE IN OUR SOCIETY.DONT ALLOW PEOPLE LIKE THAT TO CONFUSE YOUR KINDNESS WITH WEAKNESS..YOUR GREATNESS IS STILL AHEAD.LETS SEE WAHT OUR NEW POLICE COMMISIONER WILL DO ABOUT CRIME !PETER STOFFBERG

  • dhavandran.palavar - 2012-06-15 10:28

    thank god that they were not harmed. i know the Dr and listened to his stories and sometimes cried when i heard how the people who were affected by disasters and poverty survived. he was a speaker at one of our alpha pharm conferences. this incident only makes him stronger because he has been through worse. unfortunately crime exists in every country but sa needs to protect the victims and not the criminals. punishment needs to be stiffer and no remissions and pardons for any type of crime. an anomaly is the fact that catching a shad out of season or over the limit carries a far heavier sentence than rape.welcome to south africa .

  • thabojames.mohanoe - 2012-06-15 11:14

    ja ne, SA is nt a place to live in. Crime is high bt the police minister kept saying ther is no crises. How incompetant is dat. Go to hell ANC.

  • Penny - 2012-06-15 13:04

    Dr Sooliman has always been such an inspriation to us all. His reaction to this incident is a reflection of his humanity. No anger, no need for retribution, no racial accusations. He is unswerved in his determination to make our country and out world a better place. Dr Sooliman, I salute you.

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-06-15 18:29

    dumb fuuck*ing idiots, here is a guy that is helping the unemployed, the poor & along comes a thug & hijacks him, lets find this thug, he will be sorry.....barstard!!!

      raymond.abrahamse - 2012-06-16 09:17

      Nigel,these people don't care who you,what you are giving or who you are helping-they are sub standard human beings

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-06-15 18:32

    Doc, we are 10000% behind you, don't let bastards spoil your resolve, keep up the good work, there are millions of people that need you, we can learn from your example, now lets find that thug & make sure he doesn't get in the way of your good work.

  • Jack - 2012-06-15 19:45

    God hates givers

  • raymond.abrahamse - 2012-06-16 09:13

    NO MATTER WHAT GOOD YOU DO,WHAT YOU GIVE,OR WHO YOU ARE.YOU CANNOT HELP THESE PEOPLE THEY DO NOT APPRECIATE IT AND THEY WILL TURN ON YOU.WE LIVE AMONG BARBARIANS IN A LAWLESS COUNTRY.

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