South Africa: Cape Town Mafia - Distilling the Meaning of Fear and Loathing

Cape Town (file photo).

Now entering its second week, the bail hearing of five alleged underworld kingpins in Cape Town was bogged down on Tuesday by abstract arguments about what, exactly, defines a threat. The men are accused of conducting a reign of terror in a protection racket turf war over the night-time economy in the city. The case, should it make it to trial, promises to be one of the most sensational of the decade, looping back to Johannesburg as well as other cities and roping in a cast of crooked cops, lawyers and politicians. By MARIANNE THAMM.

One version of events goes something like this.

A bunch of heavies pull up one night in a convoy of at least 12 vehicles including a Porsche Cayenne and a BMW X5 at a hugely popular Cape Town beachfront entertainment venue, the Grand Africa Cafe in Granger Bay.

It's a place teeming with A-list celebrities, tourists and other party animals and lovelies Instagramming the shit out of the sunset, their cocktails, their clothes and their smooth moves.

The venue has already "contracted" a group to take care of security, but on this particular occasion, in April 2017, two of the men who arrived as part...

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