South Africa: Murder, Rivalry and Demands - Details Emerge in Underworld Extortion Case

(file photo).
28 December 2017

Shocking allegations of extortion, including how the refusal to pay protection money led to the murder of a doorman in 2015, were heard by the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Charl Kinnear, a police colonel who is investigating clashes between groups and related incidents in Cape Town clubs, testified that the June 2015 murder of doorman Joe Kanyona at the popular Beerhouse pub, along Long Street, a party hub in the Cape Town city centre, happened after those managing the establishment refused to pay certain individuals money for security.

Kinnear's testimony highlighted just how long-running and intricate the battle for control and dominance of the nightclub security industry is.

READ: For a detailed breakdown on what has been happening in the underworld, see News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked

He was testifying for the State on Thursday during the bail applications of controversial businessman Nafiz Modack and his co-accused.

Modack, as well as Colin Booysen - who is the brother of suspected Sexy Boys gang leader Jerome "Donkie" Booysen - Jacques Cronje, Ashley Fields and Carl Lakay, face extortion charges.

They are applying for bail following their arrests on December 15.

Modack has allegedly been heading a group of men intent on taking over nightclub security from a more established grouping.

This takeover has resulted in several violent incidents.

Auction altercation

Kinnear on Thursday testified that in 2015 management at Beerhouse refused to pay protection money to one of the co-accused in the current extortion case. He did not name the accused.

After this refusal someone had been sent to stab Kanyona.

Kinnear said more recent club security ructions started following an auction in Parow in March.

He said another controversial businessman, Mark Lifman, had been there and there was an altercation.

During this clash, he said, a man's firearm was stolen.

READ: Top advocate, murdered steroid kingpin involved in underworld dealings - claims surface in court This firearm ended up in the offices of Advocate Pete Mihalik, who Kinnear said asked businessman Andre Naude, who at one point ran a nightclub security company with Lifman, to give him R20 000 in exchange for the gun which could then be given to its owner.

Kinnear said Brian Wainstein had paid the R20 000 for the gun, which was then returned.

News24 previously reported that Wainstein was a convicted international steroid smuggler who was murdered in his Constantia home in August.

On Thursday Kinnear testfied that after the auction in Parow, there was an incident outside a strip club in the Cape Town city centre during which the accused "were accosted" and firearms seized from them. That evening, News24 witnessed a group of men with firearms moving around the city centre.

These incidents, Kinnear said, had instilled fear into other club owners.

On April 2 a convoy of seven vehicles, including a Porsche Cayenne and an BMW X5, pulled up at The Grand, an establishment in Granger Bay.

Kinnear testified that the extortion charges stemmed from this incident.

He said two men got out the vehicles and told the complainant in the case that they were taking over security at the venue from that day. This despite the establishment already having a security service.

Lakay later returned to The Grand and told the complainant that The Security Group (TSG) would be taking over security operations.

TSG has recently been named in other underworld court cases as being a driving force behind club security takeovers.

Kinnear testified that Specialised Protection Services (SPS) had been providing security to The Grand up until then. SPS, he said, was run by Richard van Zyl.

News24 previously reported that SPS was several years ago run by, among others, Lifman, Naude and Van Zyl. SPS company directors had at one point also included Colin and Jerome Booysen.

Kinnear on Thursday said the complainant from The Grand had at a later stage met Modack.

He said Modack had asked him: "Are you still working with Andre Naude?" It previously surfaced in another court case that Modack and Naude were members of different groupings within the security industry.

The complainant had replied that TSG was providing security at the venue.

TSG, Kinnear testified, had then pushed to have The Grand pay the company for an event it wanted to manage there on November 4.

R150 000 'demand for security'

They wanted R150 000 for this.

At one stage management at The Grand was given 39 minutes to confirm that TSG could manage the event for that amount of money.

Kinnear said Stuart Bailey, the operations manager of the Harbour House Group under which The Grand falls, stepped in as the situation progressed.

Bailey wanted to know from the complainant if the event should perhaps be cancelled. "The manager said he feard for the lives of employees so they may as well pay," Kinnear said.A meeting was then held between, among others, Bailey, Modack, Colin Booysen, Lakay and Cronje.

The TSG representatives wanted R150 000 to manage the event, but were told this was excessive.

"Stuart Bailey said he's willing to go up to R80 000," Kinnear said.

"Nafiz Modack said he would not take anything less than R100 000."

Colin Booysen had then said they should meet in the middle and settle on R90 000 for the event.

"After that no one said a word," Kinnear testified.

Colin Booysen then said he had a more important matter to focus on - a man by the name of Tim, who was in charge of security for the Harbour House Group.

Tim worked for another security company.

Colin Booysen, according to Kinnear, told those at the meeting that Tim needed to be careful because Colin Booysen knew he was "trying to get support from the Flats".

The Grand decided to go ahead and pay TSG.

' Very very important person'

Kinnear testified that one had to make a booking in order to gain entry at The Grand. He said that at 18:00 one evening the complainant received an SMS from Modack saying "he needed to keep a table open for their Advocate Mr Pete Mihalik as he's a very very important person".

The request was granted, despite this not being common practice.

Kinnear said at the beginning of December Lakay sent out an email to club owners telling them that security fees for the month had increased, as had fees for all event coverage.

Modack and his four co-accused were all arrested on December 15.

They were detained at separate police stations that evening for security reasons.

'Withdraw the charges' Kinnear said on December 16, the day after the arrests, two men had arrived at The Grand.

The complainant was told to inform Bailey to withdraw the charges against the suspects. If this did not happen, the duo would "come cause trouble at The Grand".

Kinnear testified that Modack had also sent an SMS to the complainant, apparently via attorney Bruce Hendricks' cellphone, saying there had been no extortion or threats against anyone.

The complainant had also received phone calls from a woman who said she was Modack's "other mother". Kinnear said the woman repeatedly asked the complainant to see that the charges were withdrawn.

He refused and eventually told the woman that if she kept calling he would refer this matter to police.

The bail application is expected to resume on January 2.

Source: News24

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