Nightclub revellers live in fear

2009-12-19 00:00

NIGHTCLUB patrons in the south coast holiday town of Margate live in fear of a gang of bouncers who have allegedly been terrorising revellers.

Residents fear that the reign of terror could have a negative impact on tourism in the area, and security has been tightened to clamp down on violence and underage clubbers.

Margate is popular for its beautiful beaches and is known as the country’s top student party town. Each year, holidaymakers pack its hotels, chalets and guest houses.

There are concerns that a group of men known as the Margate Four could drive away tourists with their attacks on club patrons.

While police refused to confirm reports that the men are the same culprits who appeared in the Ramsgate court on assault and grievous bodily harm charges earlier this week, it is believed the group has been responsible for several incidents outside nightclubs and pubs in the area.

The men, all trained fighters, were allegedly involved in an incident outside Koko’s nightclub on Panorama Drive in Margate two weeks ago.

According to police, an argument between two patrons at a bar led to a violent altercation on the street. It is further alleged that one of the men involved in the brawl left the scene, returned in a bakkie and then attempted to run over another patron.

A group of patrons witnessed the incident, pulled the driver and his passenger from the bakkie and kicked and beat them.

On Monday, the driver of the bakkie, Krish Naidoo (24), appeared in court on a charge of reckless and negligent driving.

Naidoo then laid a charge of attempted murder against the men who assaulted him.

Four suspects have been charged with assault and grievous bodily harm. With these charges hanging over them, the men are also accused of being responsible for the reign of terror in the area.

Extensive media coverage forced police to make speedy arrests.

Police are also investigating an incident in which an 18-year-old matric boy was beaten up with a pool cue outside the Lighthouse pub in Margate.

Police say the men are being investigated only for the bar brawl. They did not want to comment on the other incidents in the area.

Victor Chetty, director of Port Shepstone Protection Services, said he held a meeting with owners of clubs, hotels and restaurants to discuss safety, rules and regulations in their establishments and underage patrons in nightclubs.

He said extra security has been deployed to the area and that the town is monitored by CCTV cameras.

Chetty said he does not want the bar brawl to tarnish Margate’s image and that the violent attacks on club patrons will be investigated.

“We explained to club owners that violence will not be tolerated. We are all working together to rectify what happened,” he said.

He added that no bouncer is allowed to assault any patron who gets out of hand in the club.

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