Following tip-offs, this week police raided Masjid al-Jaamia in Stegman Road Claremont recovering hoards of stolen household goods. The goods were held in the living quarters of the mosque’s caretakers. While details of the case remain unclear, SAPS Claremont Station commander, Ebrahim Joseph, says that two South Africans and two Malawians have been arrested. He said the four were scheduled to appear in court on Friday morning, but the case was remanded. The suspects are expected to appear in Wynberg Magistrates Court on Monday on the possession of stolen goods and theft.
Speaking to VOC, chairperson of the Stegman Road Masjid Committee, Naziem Jamie explained that in an investigation that spanned approximately two months, no member of the mosque committee nor any of the imams were found to be involved in the theft or hoarding of the goods. He says the individuals involved were associated with the masjid for more than ten years and eight years respectively.
“Our sincere wish is for the law to run its full course so that the matter can come to a close and so that we can move forward,” Jamie said.
In a statement released by the committee of the Masjid, the executive committee confirmed that stolen goods were recovered by police in the sleeping quarters of the caretaking staff, which is separate to the masjid area.
“As a fairly new committee, elected just over a year ago, we were not aware of any activity of this nature,” the statement read.
The statement further noted that once the matter was brought to the attention of the committee, the committee fully cooperated with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and conducted a thorough search of the mosque premises and recovered the stolen items.
Various individuals who are illegally occupying the adjacent parking lot and the grave yard were involved in the theft of various items and selling them to the caretakers.
The statement confirmed that the individuals have been removed from those sites.
In light of growing speculation, representative of the mosque’s trust, Aman Kajee, explained that while the committee is a fairly young committee, the committee has assisted in improving the function of the masjid.
“We hosted a very successful, fully catered I’tikaaf programme, with approximately 100 mussallies – it was very spiritually uplifting.”
He says that the mosque committee has plans to expand the programmes of the mosque to include education and social programmes.
Kagee confirmed that the suspects are currently in holding and further asserted that the crime committed is not a ‘petty’ crime.
“This is a very serious matter…[So] the public needs to know that it is not it no longer in the hands of the mosque committee, but it is a police matter and they have everything they require to prosecute – as the mosque committee, we are distancing ourselves from the matter.”
Jamie confirmed that the mosque committee is working toward employing contingency measures in order to curtail criminal activity from occurring within the mosque’s precinct.
He urged all community members to contact SAPS to report any suspicious activity within the vicinity of the mosque to Claremont SAPS on: 021 6572250
“We would like to thank the Claremont SAPS team for their sterling work and their sensitivity when entering the grounds to gather evidence.”
VOC (Thakira Desai)