Three suspects will appear in court today in connection with the abduction of a British couple who live in Cape Town. The suspects, Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio (38) and Fatima Patel (27) were and Themba Xulu (19) faces charges of kidnapping, robbery, as well as the possible contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
They are expected to apply for bail in the Verulam Magistrates Court in Northern KwaZulu-Natal. The missing couple – Rod and Rachel Saunders – who have duel South African and British citizenship were allegedly kidnapped on February 12 while on holiday at Bivane Dam in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal in February.
The Saunders’ are well-known horticulturists who own a Kenilworth based company called Silverhill Seeds. Based on social media posts, they were in KZN in search of a rare plant species. The Saunders’ vehicle was recovered by police last week, and a fair amount of blood was found at the back of the car.
Police are waiting for forensic evidence from the vehicle to formally charge the suspects with murder. An amount of R700‚000 were siphoned from their bank accounts since they went missing. Jewellery‚ electronics and camping gear were also bought using their stolen credit cards.
Their cellphones were used to make the EFT transfers from their bank accounts. Papers before court suggest that Patel and Del Vecchio are alleged to have contravened the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorists and Related Activities Act by hoisting an ISIS flag at Ndlovini Reserve. Del Vecchio also faces another charge for his association in “extremist” web forums.
Patel and Del Vecchio face other charges of arson for allegedly torching and destroying hectares of sugar cane fields in 2017.
The British government has since posted a travel advisory‚ warning citizens of the possible threat of terror attacks on foreign interests in South Africa.
The amazing Rod and Rachel Saunders of Silver Hill Seeds. These guys know their South African native plants…..and vitally where to find them. They sell an incredible range of seeds online. #silverhillseeds #SouthAfrican #nativeplants #horticulture #planthunters pic.twitter.com/n1YymULY3b
— Nick Bailey (@nickbailey365) February 8, 2018