Cape Town – Shahied Davids, 58, commonly referred to as the “Umrah Skelm,” is expected to return to the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court this week, seeking bail in a case that has caught the attention of the Muslim community.
Davids, who owns New Age SA Travel and Tours, is accused of defrauding over 30 clients, resulting in financial losses exceeding R1.2 million. His clientele, mostly Muslim pilgrims, reportedly paid R35,000 each for tours to Mecca that were never realized.
Disappointment for Pilgrims
The case came to light when clients, prepared to embark from Cape Town International Airport on 27 December, discovered their names were inexplicably absent from the travel system, leaving them stranded without prior notification.
Arrest and Legal Proceedings
Davids, who was abroad in Saudi Arabia during the incident, was arrested upon his return to Cape Town International Airport on 14 January. He made an initial court appearance last Wednesday, where it emerged that he faces two counts of fraud. The investigating officer is reportedly preparing over 20 additional cases following a similar pattern.
“It was postponed to 26 January for bail application,” stated NPA spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila.
A Complex Legal Web
Further complicating Davids’ legal troubles is the interest shown by Saudi Arabian authorities, who are seeking him for allegedly operating under false pretences in their jurisdiction.
In the South African legal proceedings, the State has argued against granting Davids bail, citing risks associated with his deep knowledge of the travel industry. They expressed concerns about potential witness intimidation and the possibility of Davids influencing victims to withdraw charges in exchange for refunds.
The Anticipated Decision
Davids, currently held in custody, awaits the court’s decision on his bail application this Friday. The outcome is eagerly anticipated by his former clients and the broader community, who seek justice in a case that blends legal complexity with a sense of personal betrayal.
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