Search for missing businessman ends in Qwa Qwa

2013-01-24 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG family was rejoicing yesterday when a relative who disappeared five days ago was finally traced to a Free State hospital.

Shabbir Ahmad (32) vanished while attending to business in Howick on Saturday, leaving his wife, a two-year-old child and other family members distraught.

A naturalised South African, ­Ahmad arrived from Pakistan about seven years ago.

He owns several businesses in and around the city, including a hardware store.

Clues about his disappearance began to emerge yesterday.

Although it is believed he disappeared in Howick, his white Isuzu double-cab bakkie was found off the N3 near Mkondeni.

Yesterday he was located at a hospital in Qwa Qwa, seriously injured. It was not immediately clear how he got there.

His aunt, Fathima Khan, was ecstatic.

“He was found in hospital in Qwa Qwa. He was injured and cannot talk properly, but we know that he is there and he can heal … He is a husband to his wife, a father to his child, and a son to me.”

By yesterday afternoon, members of his family were on their way to the hospital.

Howick police spokesperson Captain Lolly Moodley said they were investigating the case.

“I have heard the rumours that a man has been found in hospital, but that is something I cannot confirm at this stage.”

Earlier in the day, Khan was distraught as she told The Witness about the disappearance of her nephew.

She said Ahmad had gone to Howick to collect money from his brother Naseer’s business so they could pay their suppliers.

He had about R230 000 when he disappeared.

While in Howick, he called his brother to tell him he would visit someone who owed him money and later call on another associate.

Khan said they realised late on Saturday evening that something was wrong.

“We are a family. Every night we eat together and around 8.15 pm … we called him to say that he was late for supper, but his phone had been switched off.”

When the family called again on Tuesday, a strange man answered, said Khan.

Ahmad previously ran a school in Pakistan. He married a South African woman a few years ago.

Khan said: “You can say over the last five days, we have gone to hell and back.”

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