Mahomed Salejee, 81, a popular Durban cook associated with several mosques, was found next to his Toyota Corolla in Folweni near uMlazi on Saturday evening with gunshot wounds.
The family of Salajee who was bundled into his car boot and then shot dead execution-style believes his murder was a set-up.
Yunus Shaik, Salejee’s brother-in-law, said Salejee left home at 11am on Saturday and did not say where he was going. The family later learnt he had filled R100 petrol at a nearby garage and headed to Pinetown.
“We are not sure if he was hijacked but we firmly believe it was a set-up. We got a message at 6pm from police that his car was found. They escorted us to the area. It was deep in a rural area. When we got there his body was out of the car. He had two gunshot wounds to the neck. We believe he never drove the car. His hands were tied. He was in the boot during the trip,” Shaik said.
“There are four houses close to where his car was parked. We believe that whoever drove the car took a wrong turn. This gravel area had a very steep hill. The car seemed to have gone up but stalled. It then rolled back into a small ditch. The driver got out and tried to push it. Residents heard gunshots, they saw the car and notified the police. Whoever did this took some of his personal belongings and his keys. What happened in those final hours remains a mystery for us.”
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said a case of murder was opened at Bhekithemba SAPS.
Salejee was born in the lower Tugela area. His wife Haleema, a Madressa teacher in Chatsworth, had died five months ago. Salejee predominantly cooked for Badsha Peer Mazaar in Durban Central where he was buried yesterday. He lived on Caspian Street in Chatsworth for more than 50 years. He had three children, one of whom died, and six grandchildren.
In a separate incident, private security firm Reaction Unit South Africa spokesperson Prem Balram said the body of an unidentified man, with a gunshot wound to his face, was discovered by farm employees near the Hazelmere Umgeni Water Treatment Plant in Verulam on Saturday. Balram said the body was dumped in bushes 15 metres off an unpaved road.