VOC News has learnt has the co-owner of Good Hope Meat butchery has acquired Irshaad Laher’s shares in the Nandos in Athlone. This comes after the Cape Town businessman relinquished his stake in the franchise, as he faces charges of gun smuggling and racketeering amongst others.
Reaaz Ahmed has confirmed to VOC News that a new shareholder agreement was signed on Thursday with Nandos. Ahmed will be in partnership with his brother in law, Fayaaz Ahmed Parker, the co-owner of Airport Meats. While reluctant to disclose his feelings on the case, Ahmed said a statement would be issued soon.
Laher was under pressure to sell his Nandos franchises in Gardens and Athlone and Spur branches in Observatory and Ottery following public calls for a boycott of his businesses. Amid concern over how the case will impact Nando’s brand image, the company said it had “mutually agreed” to terminate the relationship with Laher.
On Thursday, a Nandos representative said a change in ownership would take immediate effect, but could not disclose the new owners. In a statement, Nandos said it “condemns violence and criminal behaviour and will not tolerate this in any of its employees and associates”.
Social media users have been questioning who these branches are being sold to, amid continued calls for the public to not support these food outlets. A number of groups are planning protests this weekend. Community members feel the public cannot support these restaurants knowing its owner is accused of supplying weapons to gangsters on the Cape Flats, contributing to the killing of innocent civilians in gang warfare. Whether the change of ownership will stop these protests is uncertain.
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. VOC