South Africa: Underworld Extortion Matter - How It Affects You

Nightclub (file photo).

Money received from the sale of beverages, in at least one instance, was paid over to those allegedly running a nightclub security extortion racket, meaning that patrons may have unwittingly financed them.

Details which have recently emerged via testimony in two courts in Cape Town have highlighted how members of the public have been, both directly and indirectly, affected by a nightclub security takeover.

Three patrons inside establishments were shot in alleged resultant violence in 2017 - one of the three was killed, while the other two survived.

Members of the public have also, based on testimony in the courts, been exposed to groups of men, several of them armed, allegedly involved in the nightclub security takeover.

These men are said to have operated in areas including Long Street, a popular hub of nightclubs in the Cape Town city centre.

Details of a security extortion racket, allegedly headed by controversial businessman Nafiz Modack, have surfaced in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court over the past few weeks.

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

Modack is accused alongside Colin Booysen - the brother of alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome Booysen, Jacques Cronje, Ashley Fields and Carl Lakay.

They face extortion charges relating to nightclub security and have launched an application to be released on bail.

It is alleged the group was involved in extorting several owners of establishments around Cape Town, forcing them to pay a protection fee.

Public affected

This means that people who have gone to the establishments that paid protection fees have indirectly been exposed to the alleged extortion racket.

If security personnel were indeed supplied to these establishments by those involved in the racket, then people may have been directly exposed to those associated with the alleged extortion.

Some of the details which have emerged in court, in the Modack bail application as well as another underworld case, have highlighted how members of the public have allegedly been affected.

Details about this surfaced during the bail application of Grant Veroni, director of Bellville-based company Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, trading as The Security Group (TSG), who faces two charges relating to the alleged possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

TSG has been named in court as being a driving force behind the nightclub security takeover.

During Veroni's bail application, which played out in the Cape Town Regional Court mostly in November, Sergeant Edward Edwardes, who is investigating underworld activities, testified how innocent people had been caught up in underworld violence.

Shooting of patrons

He had said a British tourist was wounded in the arm and another person was shot and wounded, which affected his kidney and liver, in Café Caprice in Camps Bay. This happened on April 17.

Edwardes testified that a DJ and a woman standing at the door of an establishment in Loop Street, were wounded in a shooting. This was on May 4.

He also referred to the murder of Nicole Muller, 30, a mother of two, who was killed in a shooting in Stellenbosch nightclub Cubana on October 14.

Donovan Jacobs, who sources identified to News24 as a 28s gang member, was also killed in the Cubana shooting, while a third person was wounded.

'More innocent people could get hurt'

During the Modack bail application about a week ago, Charl Kinnear, a police officer investigating fights in clubs around Cape Town, had testified that if the accused were released on bail, this could spark further violence.

"I foresee the possibility exists that more innocent people will get killed and injured," he had said.

Kinnear testified about Igor Russol, who previously worked for slain underworld kingpin Cyril Beeka, and who had told police Modack had recruited him in 2017 while he was in Ukraine.

Russol had said Modack had indicated he wanted controversial businessman Mark Lifman and Jerome Booysen murdered.

According to Kinnear, Russol had in December 2017 started working for Lifman as the manager of Iconic Lounge, an establishment in Long Street.

'Attempted hitman' caught inside a club

Kinnear said Iconic Lounge is owned by Lifman.

Russol, according to Kinnear, said a man had tried to shoot him in Iconic Lounge and that a woman had smuggled a firearm into the venue so that this could happen.

The woman had managed to do so because, at that stage, there had been no female bouncers who were able to search women patrons.

Russol and others had tackled the man with the firearm and he and the woman who allegedly smuggled it to him were arrested.

Kinnear had also testified about how accused, including Modack, Lakay, Cronje and Colin Booysen, allegedly ensured they took over security at The Grand, a venue in Granger Bay.

Cash from bar used to pay alleged extortion fee

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

They wanted R150 000 for this.

Kinnear said, after negotiations, a R90 0000 fee suggested by Colin Booysen, was settled on.

He had testified that those at The Grand managed to gather the R90 000 from the cash bar to pay what was expected.

Kinnear said that Stuart Bailey, the operations manager of the Harbour House Group, under which The Grand falls, had earlier said if they did not make enough money, he would use money from another restaurant within the group to cover the money which was demanded.

On Thursday, the Modack bail application was postponed to January 16 because Kinnear was booked off sick.

Source: News24

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