Farhad Hoomer, the alleged mastermind behind a series of bomb attacks in Durban, donned a black balaclava to hide his face during one of his first appearances, in 2018. Picture: THULI DLAMINI.
Farhad Hoomer, the alleged mastermind behind a series of bomb attacks in Durban, donned a black balaclava to hide his face during one of his first appearances, in 2018. Picture: THULI DLAMINI.

A Durban businessman accused of terrorist-related activities and having links to the Islamic State (IS), has been ordered to provide the state with samples of his voice.

Farhad Hoomer — accused of orchestrating an attack at the Imam Hussain Mosque in May 2018, which resulted in the death of Verulam mechanic Abbas Essop, as well as firebomb attacks at retail outlets — appeared in the Verulam family court on Friday. 

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Natasha Kara said the court ruled in favour of the state’s application for a sample of Hoomer’s voice by the end of January 2020.

For most of 2019, the state has been attempting to get voice samples from Hoomer as they form a critical part of the investigations. The samples are crucial, because he is accused of calling Woolworths with information about bombings at their stores in Durban.

This resulted in a legal wrangle between Hoomer’s lawyers and the state. Hoomer’s defence maintained that police tricked him into being recorded, so that they could match his voice to that in the phone call to Woolworths.

An affidavit by Col Johannes Vreugdenburg of the organised crime unit at the Hawks, submitted to the court earlier in 2019, gave reasons that the voice samples from Hoomer were needed.

His’s affidavit stated that on August 7 2018, Woolworths’ financial call centre in Cape Town received calls from a person saying he had information about the bombings at their shops in Durban.

He said when Hoomer was arrested, he recognised “similarities between his voice and the digital recordings received from Woolworths”.

Hoomer, together with 11 others, was arrested during a co-ordinated Hawks raid on October 5  2018. They face various other charges‚ including murder‚ attempted murder‚ arson and extortion. 

The case was adjourned to February 28.