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R100 000 DONATED TO CHARITIES TO ASSIST HAJJ PILGRIMS

MEDIA STATEMENT

THURSDAY 1 June 2017

R100 000 DONATED TO CHARITIES TO ASSIST HAJJ PILGRIMS

(From left) Haroon Kalla from Awaqaf, Publisher Yaseen Theba, Al Firnas Patel from Crescent Lifestyle, CEO of Awqaf SA ,Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to South Africa Ghorm Said Malhan, Shaheen Essop from the South African Hajj and Umrah Council and social activist Yusuf Abramjee.

Two South African charities received a boost when R100 000 was donated to them to assist needy pilgrims traveling for the annual Hajj Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

The proceeds of the coffee table book, #Hajj2016 #AbramjeeOnHajj,  published by social activist, Yusuf Abramjee, were presented to Awqaf SA and Crescent Lifestyle in Pretoria today.

Abramjee published hundreds of photographs of his Hajj journey last year in a high-gloss A3 coffee table book.

“The idea was to create awareness of Hajj which is compulsory for all Muslim who can afford it at least once in their lifetime. Also, it brought back many memories for those who have been on Hajj. We need to promote social cohesion and religious tolerance and that’s what the book does,” said Abramjee.

He said the R100 000 raised from the proceeds of the book “will go some way to assist destitute pilgrims.”

Abramjee said the “Hajj Waqf” (Hajj Funds) helped scores of pilgrims annually.

Abramjee thanked publisher Yaseen Theba from Vision Branding and all the contributors and sponsors.

500 books were donated to libraries, schools and religious institutions.

#Hajj2016 received the support of scores of prominent South Africans including cabinet ministers, business leaders and social activists.

World renowned Islamic scholar, Mufti Islam Menk, from Zimbabwe, late stalwart Ahmed “Uncle Kathy”

Kathrada, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula and former Ministers Derrick Hannekom and Tokio Sexwale were among those who endorsed #Hajj2016 #AbramjeeOnHajj

Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to South Africa, Ghorm Said Malhan, said: “South African Muslims are a key part of South Africa as they became completely integrated into society and influenced all areas of life of SA culture.

“I would like to thank Yusuf for his book on Hajj and for his dedication and service to your community and country.”

“The book is indeed a clear example of the strong relations between Saudi Arabia and the South African Muslim community in particular, and the entire South Africa in general,” said Ambassdor Malhan.

He added that South Africans “should all be proud of their exceptional reputation for religious tolerance and diversity.”

The Ambassdor announced that the royal embassy of Saudi Arabia would also make a donation to the Hajj Fund.

CEO of Awqaf SA, Zeinoul Abedien Cajee, said: “We are proud of the

contribution made by Yusuf in the production of his #Hajj2016 Coffee Table album.”

“We are certain that the photographs presented will inspire many to look forward to this awesome pilgrimage-journey of a lifetime.

“We are also confident that the book will bring a better understanding about not only one of the great pillars of Islam, Hajj, but also about Islam as a complete  and comprehensive way of life, to both Muslims and people of other faiths and persuasions – especially in an era of Islamophobic tendencies,” said Cajee.

“The contribution to the “Hajj Waqf” from the proceeds of sales and donations of the book will be invested in the Awqaf SA Hajj Waqf Fund and its proceeds will be used on a sustainable basis to assist poor and needy pilgrims (or Hujjaj), and also to some the opportunity to experience the sacred journey.

Al-Firnas Patel, Managing Director of Crescent Lifestyle said: “We congratulate Yusuf on the successful publication of the #Hajj2016 book and its objectives.

“Crescent Lifestyle has for the past nine years added value to the lives of tens of thousands of South African Muslims through its unique product. In addition Crescent Lifestyle has also donated from its profits close to R4 million on behalf of its members to various beneficiaries and sponsored over 115 of its members to go for Umrah (mini pilgrimage).

“We welcome the funds towards the Hajj Fund received from Yusuf through his book and this will facilitate needy muslims to fulfill their dreams of going for Hajj.

“This is a noble and an admirable initiative and we encourage others to take on such initiatives. Together we can make a difference,” added Patel.

Enquiries:

Yusuf Abramjee

082 4414 203

@abramjee.com

Yaseen Theba

064 4 000 000

@yaseentheba

Vision Tactical expands its security services to include airport escorts

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Ebrahim Gangat chats to Yaseen Theba, director of Vision Tactical, a security company that provides private security to homes and businesses in Houghton, Killarney, Norwood and other surburbs in Northren Jo’burg.

Providing safe return from airport

The Star Page 5 – 23rd May 2017

THE RISE in crimes committed around OR Tambo International Airport, including people being followed home from the airport and robbed, has spawned an interesting and lucrative business.

Vision Tactical is a security company that began in October 2014, which provides private security to homes and businesses in Houghton, Killarney, Norwood and other suburbs in northern Joburg.

Vision Tactical Owner: Yaseen Theba , speaks about the burgeoning crime of being followed back home from the airport.

Recently, the company expanded its security services to include airport escorts, because according to the company’s owner, Yaseen Theba, clients started becoming nervous about coming back from the airport and asked for vehicles to be stationed on driveways outside their homes for safety purposes.

“Then certain people felt nervous about landing at night or early mornings and asked if we could provide a guard inside the car that was going to pick them up.

“But we prefer using our own vehicles to follow our clients, because in the event something happens, we have our rifles and guns in the car.

“If it’s a family pick-up, we don’t like to have firearms in the vehicle when there are children. We prefer following a vehicle and ensuring that a family get home safely,” Theba explained.

Last Monday, a man was shot dead just outside OR Tambo International Airport’s drop-off area, in what was believed to have been a botched hijacking.

HAPPY ABOUT THE SERVICE: Dharmisha Makan speaks about her experience being followed back home from the airport.  Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips

It was this report that convinced Dharmisha Makan to use the escort service for the first time when she and a friend came back from India last week.

“As two women travelling on our own, we definitely felt safe just to know that we’re being followed by a security company that we are familiar with, as they do the guarding at our complex.

“They followed both of us to our homes and we felt safe. So did our family members, who knew we were going to make it home safe,” Makan enthused, adding that she would “definitely” use the service again.

Theba added that he was aware the police were trying to curb the crime of airport followings by doing stop and searches of cars leaving the airport.

“Then certain people felt nervous about landing at night or early mornings and asked if we could provide a guard inside the car that was going to pick them up.

“But we prefer using our own vehicles to follow our clients, because in the event something happens, we have our rifles and guns in the car.

“If it’s a family pick-up, we don’t like to have firearms in the vehicle when there are children. We prefer following a vehicle and ensuring that a family get home safely,” Theba explained.

Last Monday, a man was shot dead just outside OR Tambo International Airport’s drop-off area, in what was believed to have been a botched hijacking.

It was this report that convinced Dharmisha Makan to use the escort service for the first time when she and a friend came back from India last week.

“As two women travelling on our own, we definitely felt safe just to know that we’re being followed by a security company that we are familiar with, as they do the guarding at our complex.

“They followed both of us to our homes and we felt safe. So did our family members, who knew we were going to make it home safe,” Makan enthused, adding that she would “definitely” use the service again.

ON ALERT: A panic button was activated while The Star was patrolling with Vision Tactical in Houghton. It took the response unit roughly three minutes to react, but it turned out to be a false alarm.   Picture: Nhlanhla Phillips

Theba added that he was aware the police were trying to curb the crime of airport followings by doing stop and searches of cars leaving the airport.

But he said some of his clients were apprehensive about the police because of reports that officers – or people disguised as law enforcement personnel – were also part of criminal activity around the airport.

This has to do with the brazen airport heist in March, where more than R20 million was stolen by robbers who, it is believed, included police officers and airport security personnel.

“There are times when people get nervous about being questioned by police.

“People are nervous about sharing information with police at the airport because they are living in fear due to the reports about officers being involved in some of these crimes,” Theba said.

“So, if they know that they are dealing with a security company that they know and trust, they feel a lot more comfortable to talk to the police. That’s what we are trying to do – making people feel a lot safer.”

The company, Theba said, employed only highly skilled personnel, such as Boloka “Bravo 7” Diale.

He is a commander within Vision Tactical, and told The Star he was trained in special weapons and tactics, or Swat, and previously worked for the US Embassy and a cash-in-transit company.

Asked what the scariest part of the job was, Diale asserted: “For me, there is no scary part, because I am used to it. Maybe if I was starting out it would be scary, but right now it’s like having bread with tea.”

MILLIONS OF RANDS DONATED TO #SAveSyria by #OperationSA

MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WEDNESDAY 28 DECEMBER 2016

MILLIONS OF RANDS DONATED TO #SAveSyria by #OperationSA

JOHANNESBURG- Almost R10-million was presented to seven charities today by #OperationSA for the #SAveSyria humanitarian efforts.

The money was raised following an urgent call for donations over the past ten days. R14 110 668.00
was pledged as at 8am today.

Speaking at a cheque handing over ceremony in Houghton Johannesburg today,
#OperationSA’s Yusuf Abramjee said “the response from South Africans has been over-whelming. People have opened their hearts and have dug deep into their pockets over the past few days. This is Ubuntu in action yet again.”

Abramjee told the seven charities that the money had to be used for humanitarian aid only. “We don’t want one rand to go towards salaries, travel, commission, etc.

“There is a desperate need for food, medicines, clothing, blankets, shelter, etc. We want to also ensure that the aid reaches the people of Syria without delay,” Abramjee said.

Six charities received R1-million each. They are the Jamiatul Ulama SA, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul Ulama KZN, Darul lslam Relief Fund/Muslim Judicial Council (SA), Islamic Relief SA and the Al Quds Foundation.

The Al-Imdaad Foundation was presented with a cheque of R3,655 000. The Polokwane Muslim Trust Welfare Fund donated R2,3m. Two other donors also requested their funds for the Foundation.

A total of R9 655 000 was paid to the charities. The balance will be hand over in January once all the money pledged is in.

Representatives from the organizations thanked #OperationSA for mobilizing at very short notice and for raising the millions of rands.
They said #OperationSA united NGO’s.

Abramjee said the “recall rate has been excellent. Over 70% of the money pledged and was paid into the special account within a week.”

He said “doing good should become a way of life. We at #OperationSA are looking at ways of assisting people in need in South Africa next year also on a massive scale.”

Yaseen Theba from #OperationSA said everyone from NGO’s to Womens’ Groups, companies, individuals and school children have donated.

“We have seen South Africans from across the spectrum donating. This money is going to go a very long way to assist the people of Syria,” added Theba.

He said the multi-channel media broadcast last Tuesday evening raised just over R10m. “Some R4m was pledged via SMS’s, Whats App and on-line.”

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has also thrown her weight behind #OperationSA.

She said “the biggest mistake we can make is doing nothing” and has placed her full support. She was also announced as a patron of #OperationSA.

Scores of young children, some donating their spending money, also called-in to the pledge lines last week. A Pretoria family, who did or want to be named, even cancelled their planned holiday to donate to #SAveSyria.

Al-Imdaad’s Projects Coordinator Qari Ziyaad Patel said: “Our teams on the ground are ready to facilitate the relief efforts on behalf of #OperationSA and with the experience and transparency we have it will indeed be and eye opener for the group.

“The situation and difficulties faced by the Syrian people is without doubt the worst humanitarian crisis of our time and together this initiative from #OperationSA will make a huge difference.”

A container filled with essential items such as food and clothing left Johannesburg today.

The Al-Quds Foundation said a second container was being prepared for January.

Speaking at the “Container Sealing Ceremony” in Ennerdale, Abramjee thanked the many donors. “You are going to help thousands of people. We salute you for caring.”

#OperationSA is continuing to take pledges. SMS or WhatsApp 072 3 99 99 99 or on-line www.operationsa.org

ENQUIRIES:

Yusuf Abramjee
Cell 082 4414 203
Twitter: @abramjee

Yaseen Theba
Cell 064 4 000 000
Twitter: @yaseentheba

Response to #SAveSyria is ‘overwhelming’

Johannesburg – More than R7 million has been paid to the #SAveSyria #OperationSA fund within five days.

#OperationSA launched the drive earlier this week in response to calls to help with humanitarian efforts in Aleppo and other parts of war-torn Syria.

“The response from South Africans has been overwhelming. We are continuing to get pledges online and via SMS,” said #OperationSA founder Yusuf Abramjee.

Almost R14-million has been pledged for #SAveSyria. A multi-channel four hour pledge line broadcast on Tuesday evening raised R 10 028 953.00

The #SAveSyria #OperationSA campaign was launched following calls to assist victims of the Syrian conflict. Abramjee with fellow social activists Yaseen Theba and Catherine Constantinides are among those behind #OperationSA.

The pledge line saw almost 800 callers and thousands of SMS’s. The biggest single pledge was R2,3 million was from the Polokwane Muslim Trust Welfare Fund for the Al-Imdaad Foundation. It has already been paid into the special fund.

Scores of young children, some donating their spending money, also called in. A Pretoria family, who did not want to be named, even cancelled their planned holiday to donate to #SAveSyria.

The money is to be distributed to seven local charities who are doing humanitarian work in Syria. They are the Al-Imdaad Foundation, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul-Ulama SA, Jamiatul-Ulama KZN, Al-Quds Foundation, Muslim Judicial Council and Islamic Relief SA.

The Al-Quds Foundation is preparing a container with food and clothing and it is scheduled to leave Johannesburg on Wednesday.

“South Africans and foreigners really opened their hearts. The donations will go a long way to ease the pain and suffering of Syrians,” said Abramjee from #OperationSA

“We are witnessing ubuntu in action yet again. The response from the public has been amazing and we will ensure that every rand raised is used for humanitarian relief such as food, blankets, medicines and shelter,” added Abramjee.

He said “it was not only Muslims who were donating. People from all sectors of society are digging deep into their pockets.

“If one person suffers we all feel the pain. It is our duty to help those in need irrespective of religion, nationality or race. We are all human.

“The pledge recall rate is brilliant. We almost have 50% of the money in within such a short space of time. I have not seen such a response in all the years of charity and community work,” Abramjee told the Saturday Star.

Yaseen Theba from #OperationSA said the pledge line was a “major success.”

He said “we were not sure how much money will come in because we are in the middle of the holiday season.

“The phones did not stop ringing. The shocking images from Syria also prompted many callers to donate. The almost R14m raised in such a short period of time shows we are a caring nation,” said Theba who directed the Call Centre Operations.

Online pledges are still coming in and the public can continue donating on the website www.operationsa.org

Donations can also be made via Whats App and SMS: 072 3 99 99 99.

Catherine Constantinides said: “Thank you, thank you, thank you. South Africans never stop to amaze. They dig deep into their pockets and they always make a difference. We have hearts of gold. I am proud of my colleagues at #OperationSA, the many volunteers and sponsors. Well done also to the media for supporting the cause.”

Abramjee said he and Qari Ziyaad Patel from the Al-Imdaad Foundation will lead a delegation to the Turkish-Syrian border early in the new year “to look at conditions on the ground and the relief operations underway.”

The Al-Imdaad Foundation is co-ordinating the visit with #OperationSA and “we want to see exactly how every rand donated by people is going to be used.”

“We will not allow money donated to be used for salaries, agents fees and admin costs,” said Abramjee.

#OperationSA will continue to work locally and internationally by engaging with partners, donors and communities “to develop projects that bring relief, hope and dignity to some of the most vulnerable people.”

Abramjee and Theba were part of the team that founded Operation Hydrate earlier this year. The civil-society group donated millions of liters of water to drought-stricken communities.

Abramjee is also Chief Ambassador the CEO Sleepout SA. This year they donated R9m to three charities involved in education. Over R20m went to Boys and Girls Town last year.

“Our mission in life should be to help others in need and create a better world,” he said.

In partnership with the Al-Imdaad Foundation, Abramjee and the Operation Hydrate team also drilled boreholes in many parts of SA.

Al-Imdaad’s Projects Coordinator Qari Ziyaad Patel said : “Our teams on the ground are ready to facilitate the relief efforts on behalf of #OperationSA and with the experience and transparency we have it will indeed be and eye opener for the group.

“The situation and difficulties faced by the Syrian people is without doubt the worst humanitarian crisis of our time and together this initiative from #OperationSA will make a huge difference.”

Saturday Star

 

#OperationSA’s telethon to save Syria a success

Johannesburg – South Africans showed their spirit of Ubuntu again on Tuesday night when the #OperationSA organisation hosted a live telethon in Joburg, in an effort to raise money for humanitarian relief in war-torn Syria.

#OperationSA was formed by social activists Yusuf Abramjee and Yaseen Theba, among others, in reaction to the plight of Syrians experiencing hardships as war rages between President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime.

During the live broadcast of the telethon, both Abramjee and Theba stressed that they could not sit back and do nothing while their fellow humans in Syria suffered because of a senseless war.

“We know what is happening [in Syria] – men, women and children are being slaughtered. How can we as South Africans sit back and watch the blood continuing to flow? It’s heartbreaking,” Abramjee said.

He contended that the rest of the world has largely sat back and done nothing to assist Syrians, saying South African should draw on their spirit of Ubuntu.

“We, in South Africa, in the true spirit of Ubuntu, have decided to unite under the banner of #OperationSA and to really make a difference. There’s an urgent need for food, medicine, blankets, mattresses and shelters,” Abramjee added.

The first caller on the telethon was a young girl from Pretoria, Amina, who pledged R5 000 to the relief efforts, saying she also wanted to play her part.

Abramjee emphasised that every cent which is collected will go towards Syrians in need, and their organisation will make sure that the intended beneficiaries receive the funds.

“The chief executive of ITV, the channel which hosted the telethon, and myself will be travelling to Syria over the next two weeks to ensure that every cent that you are donating tonight is well spent,” he asserted.

After roughly one hour and 15 minutes after the telethon began, Theba announced that they had managed to raise over R1.2 million from pledges throughout South Africa and outside of South Africa.

Beneficiaries of this initiative include the Al Imdaad Foundation, Islamic Relief SA, Africa Muslims Agency, Jamiatul Ulama SA and Jamiatul Ulama KZN. There are also a number of smaller organisations which will benefit from this initiative.

People can continue to make pledges on http://www.operationsa.org/. 

khaya.koko@inl.co.za

The Star