19 April 2017

South Africa: 'Bogus' Intelligence Claims As Underworld Plot Thickens

Photo: thomas_sly/Flickr
(file photo).

A company, which claims to have strong links to intelligence services and police, has emerged as a player in Cape Town's nightclub security industry.

The Bellville-based company, The Security Group (TSG), initially run by a former bouncer boss, has claimed online that members work with police and intelligence officers.

But the State Security Agency (SSA) has distanced itself from the company.

While police have not confirmed it, several sources within the underworld and with links to it, have said members of TSG were involved in the arrests of three suspects at a Camps Bay nightclub after two people were shot at the venue early on Monday.

Several sources, including some in the legal fraternity and with ties to police, said one of those shot was a businessman whose tyre service centre was petrol bombed in May last year.

But a man who says he is the businessman, and who News24 tried to contact after the shooting, on Wednesday said he was not involved in the incident and his name has been intentionally brought into the matter as part of an elaborate plot.

He did not go into the plot, which he described as a "farce".

Allegations 'baseless'

The shooting is believed to be linked to a massive underworld turf war over club security - roughly three weeks ago a new grouping, apparently headed by businessman Nafiz Modack, snatched control from an older grouping.

Sources in the underworld and with ties to police told News24 that Modack is working with the brother of an alleged gang leader and businessman from Pakistan, who they claim is involved in international organised crime and is financing the new grouping.

However, several sources in the same circles also believe the shift in the club security industry has been orchestrated by police and informants to try and take down key underworld players.

But State Security Agency spokesperson Brian Dube on Wednesday denied this.

"The allegations made about our involvement in the 'shake up' of the industry are baseless and are devoid of any truth," he said.

"It's a known fact some in this industry have always claimed or alleged that the security services are busy trying to destabilise the industry."

Dube said the agency was not linked to TSG, which News24 has established is a key player in club security.

"We do not have any working relationship with TSG," he said.

'Strong association with ex-military personnel'

Police were on Tuesday morning asked to respond to queries on the matter, but by noon on Wednesday had not.

TSG's website said the company aims to "become the leading preferred supplier of security services in the RSA".

While an employee at the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) could not immediately confirm that TSG was registered with it, a highly-placed source, as well as the TSG website, said it was.

A link to its PSIRA certificate did not appear to function.

The TSG website goes on to say the company is linked to intelligence services and police.

"TSG maintains a strong association with ex-military personnel and employ many former SADF and SAP officers so that our clients can benefit from the very best in a trained, experienced and motivated security presence," it says.

"We also actively maintain close networking relationships with the police and intelligence services to further enhance our services to clients."

'I'm getting out'

On TSG's website the "site supervisor" of the company is listed as Houssain Taliep.

When News24 contacted him on Tuesday, it emerged he was in fact Hussain Ait Taleb, a martial arts expert better known in bouncer circles as Hussain Moroccan.

Taleb has been involved in nightclub security for decades and at one point worked with now-slain underworld kingpin Cyril Beeka, who ran an infamous bouncer racket in Cape Town.

On Tuesday, Taleb told News24 he had resigned from TSG three months ago.

"I'm getting out. I'm just focusing on kickboxing," he said.

When approached for comment last week, Grant Veroni, listed on TSG's website as its chief executive officer, said he would return the call.

He is yet to do so.

Veroni did not answer his phone on Wednesday.

An employee who answered a call at TSG's offices said: "I'm not allowed to give you information."

TSG's Facebook page said it had a sister company, Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, which offered "legal assistance, provincial and national liquor licence application, rescission of judgment, immigration, labour disputes and property rentals".

Source: News24

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