VOC News has learnt that Cape Town businessman Irshaad Laher is selling his shares in four popular restaurant franchises. He is the co-owner of the Spurs in Observatory and Ottery, as well as the Nandos branches in Athlone and Gardens. Laher is under investigation for fraud, corruption, and theft of firearms and ammunition, after he was singled out as the middle man between a former police colonel who stole firearms from a police armoury and gangsters who bought them. The restauranteur was granted R100 000 bail in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on Monday and will appear in court on 22 July.
Speaking to VOC News on Thursday, Laher said he chose to sell his franchises due to the reputational damage the charges have brought to the companies and its staff. He also described the devastation and hurt the case has caused his family.
“I’ve distanced myself from these businesses because so many people’s lives have been hurt because of this,” he said.
In a statement, Nandos said they are aware of allegations against Laher and will end his franchise agreement.
“Nando’s has held a meeting with Mr Laher and other interested parties. We have mutually agreed to terminate the relationship between us, and a change in ownership will take immediate effect. We reiterate that Nando’s categorically condemns violence and criminal behaviour, and will not tolerate this in any of its employees and associates.”
A representative from the Spur group confirmed that the process to sell the franchises is underway. The company did not wish to elaborate on the charges against Laher.
Laher’s decision comes amidst growing calls on social media for the public to boycott these fast food outlets, due to the seriousness of the allegations. Some groups have claimed the guns allegedly sold by Laher and Prinsloo were the source of brutal gang related violence on the Cape Flats. Western Cape deputy police commissioner Jeremy Veary described as it “the largest haul of illegal weapons supplied in the history of the Western Cape.” VOC