Max’s Lifestyle owner was a victim of attempted assassination

The mood was sombre at the popular Max’s Lifestyle in uMlazi yesterday after the shooting of owner Max Mqadi in the venue’s car park on Thursday evening.

According to police, Mqadi, a popular figure in the hospitality industry in South Africa and abroad, was shot at four times as he was leaving the venue and getting into his vehicle.

His management team confirmed yesterday that he “survived an attempt on his life and is recuperating”.

According to reports, two assailants had approached Mqadi as he was getting into his car and fired shots at him. A wounded Mqadi managed to evade the shooters and sped off.

He drove to a Florida Road night spot where he sought help. He was taken to an uMhlanga hospital.

The murder attempt rocked social media yesterday, with an outpouring of support and well wishes for his recovery.

There were also numerous comments regarding a picture shared, allegedly of Mqadi’s iPhone, which was damaged by a bullet. The cellphone allegedly saved his life as he had been talking on the phone at the time of the shooting.

There were also images of a blood-soaked driver’s seat inside the vehicle.

When the Independent on Saturday visited the premises in uMlazi yesterday, the atmosphere was subdued and quiet as staff went about their duties.

One staff member said it was “business as usual” as preparations were under way for a busy weekend, while another confirmed where Mqadi’s car had been parked and where the shooting had taken place.

Apparently Mqadi normally left work at about 7pm.

Also being circulated on social media platforms was a voice note, allegedly a recording of a local security company alerted to the attack on Mqadi just after it had happened.

Max’s Lifestyle owner Max Mqadi.

It said: “shooting is positive, ya he was shot three or four times… he’s managed to drive himself to Florida Road… is at the hospital at the moment. Info is that it was two suspects who have been loitering around since half past six in the evening.

“The security guard tried to move them from the parking lot but they were wandering around… when Max got in his vehicle to leave, they fired shots at him.”

Yesterday morning, Max’s Lifestyle management issued a statement in which said: “It is with relief that we wish to confirm that the founder and owner of Max’s Lifestyle Village, Max Mqadi, survived an attempt on his life last night (14 October 2021).

“Mr Mqadi was shot at close range by unknown gunmen as he was leaving the globally renowned restaurant in uMlazi. However, mercifully the owner of the world class restaurant which was voted as one of the best restaurants in the world in 2016, survived the attack and is recuperating.

“We wish to take this opportunity to relay our heartfelt gratitude to all South Africans and the global community who have expressed messages of support to Mr Mqadi.”

“We also urge all the well wishers to continue to pray for his speedy recovery,” read the statement, adding that “the eagle does not stop flying just because there is a storm, instead relying on its wings, it confronts it and flies above it”.

While details remain sketchy about the shooting, SAPS provincial spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said Mqadi had sustained two gunshot wounds and police were investigating.

Under the banner of Durban Tourism, eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said yesterday that they were shocked about the shooting.

“Max Mqadi is one of the pioneers of township tourism and the city cannot afford to lose people like him who have put our city on the world map.

“We are appealing to law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned and to arrest the perpetrators.

“We wish him a speedy recovery and appeal to anyone who may have information regarding this heinous crime to work with police,” said Mayisela.

Main Image: TimesLive