SA’s electro king swaps jol for jail

2015-02-01 15:00

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As the “big daddy” of South Africa’s electronic dance party industry, Dave Forbes is most accustomed to glow sticks, Tiger Balm and water slides heaving with bikini-clad beauties.

But now Forbes, the founder of Boksburg’s infamous H2O parties, is getting acquainted with police vans, jail cells and bail applications.

Forbes (48) allegedly shot ticket tout Toufiq Joseph dead at a bustling Engen garage on Orange Street in Cape Town last Saturday. He was arrested soon after the shooting, calmly smoking a cigarette and sipping a Coke, eyewitnesses have told City Press.

Three separate industry insiders who have worked with Forbes for several years say he was spearheading a crackdown on fraudulent ticket sales.

The insiders claim that the meeting with Joseph – who was himself facing a murder charge – was allegedly a sting operation to crack the scalping syndicate.

Forbes was granted bail in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court late on Thursday. He testified during his first appearance on Monday that he’d been cut on his right arm and had acted in self-defence.

The investigating officer testified that four knives, including one stained with blood, were found in Joseph’s black Golf GTI.

Forbes is due back in court on Thursday.

His journey from plumber to party boss to prisoner started after an “epic road trip with [my] brother to Mozambique”.

“We wanted to create an awesome event unlike anything else in the world. We do things properly – from the flyers, to the awesome venue, to the music line-up, everything,” he told the jhblive.com website in an undated interview.

“It’s a sexy party, too – women walk around in bikinis. It appeals to all the senses, visual, aural and everything else,” he told the website.

As regulars at the popular parties will testify, it’s not unusual to see women gliding down a supertube in knee-high leather boots and little else, nor to run into “Merle the Pearl”.

Merle is a 50-something rave-scene regular who sells flashing luminous accessories and bubblegum to the H2O faithful.

Forbes – bulky framed, grey stubbled and shaven headed, tattoos decorating his arms – is a familiar figure poolside at the parties.

Together with his brother Paul and business partner Itsik Bouhbot, he built a party empire. Forbes also owns the self-described “hidden jewel of Johannesburg”, the nightclub Nicci Beach, which is set in the heart of Wild Waters in Boksburg “amid swaying palm trees and warm, sunny breezes”.

Forbes took a major step up last year when he secured the local rights to the globe’s premier electronic dance music event, Ultra Music Festival, organising Ultra South Africa in Johannesburg and Cape Town. With his business expanding, he moved to Hout Bay in the Mother City.

Natasha De Agrela, who spins the decks at Forbes’ clubs as DJ Tashy, is among those who have came out in support of him this week.

“He is so driven, but still finds the time to help people out?...?His constant contributions to charities, especially the SPCA, are just one of the many things I admire so much about him!” De Agrela wrote on her Facebook page this week.

“We [sic] like a family at Nicci beach, H2O and Ultra, and if ever we need anything – Dave is always there or willing to help us! His [sic] like the Big Daddy of our family! The supporter, a protector and most of all a friend.”

One associate described Forbes as “a boet”.

“He’s a bulldog. He hangs with that Joburg heavies crowd and he’s not the kind of guy who you want to cross swords with.”

Forbes has a previous conviction of common assault related to an incident in 1996, for which he paid an admission of guilt fine at the Germiston Police Station.

But others said there was no suggestion he was violent. Veteran radio and club DJ Sasha Martinengo said he was devastated.

“I’ve done many functions for Dave Forbes, from the days of Sutra, H2O and Nicci Beach, and I’m just completely shocked at what’s gone on,” said Martinengo.

“Dave has always been a very, very decent man. I don’t find him a thug or aggressive at all. I’ve never seen Dave with a gun. He was always dressed in linen pants and flip-flops. Even when I went into his back office to get paid, he didn’t have a gun.”

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