EXCLUSIVE: 'It's not safe to be here, go' - witnessing Cape Town's underworld turf war

2017-04-22 13:03

Cape Town - Stationed at the entrance to a city club, clutching what appears to be a leg-length firearm, a man monitors the scene as a large group of men barge inside the building.

This appeared to be the latest episode in an ongoing underworld club security turf war in Cape Town, which later led to police seizing firearms and ammunition.

On Saturday, police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said that, during an incident in Barrack Street, where a group had gathered outside a strip club, police seized "several firearms and ammunition".

No arrests were made.

"Our investigations into circumstances surrounding the matter continues," Van Wyk said.

Shortly before midnight on Friday News24 witnessed the group first make their way into a club along Riebeek Street.

A few of their luxury vehicles were parked outside the club, where a smaller group of men remained behind.

A man, clutching an item the shape of a very long rifle and covered in what appeared to be canvas, patrolled outside.


Another, dressed in all black, walked around holding up a shield.

Metered taxi drivers who were parked nearby watched worriedly as the men rushed into - and then several minutes later, out of - the club.

'Put your phone away'

They warned that the situation was dangerous and stood at their taxi doors.

"It's not safe to be here, go. Put your phone away," one warned in a hushed tone.

"This has to do with that shooting in Camps Bay," another whispered.

He was referring to a shooting inside Cafe Caprice early on Monday, in which two patrons were wounded.

On Friday night some clubgoers, seemingly oblivious to what was happening, laughed as they walked around nearby.

After leaving the first club, the large group of men then went in a convoy of vehicles to a strip club in the city centre.

This was the same club where a new underworld grouping is said to have muscled in on security on March 30.

It is also where a contingent of men, believed to be from the older grouping, arrived about a week and a half ago.

Police had intervened.

On Friday, before the group of men arrived at the strip club, metered taxi drivers quickly drove their vehicles away.

When the group arrived, the men went to the club's entrance.

Again, the man with what appeared to be the firearm, patrolled outside.

A burly man, dressed all in black, moved alongside him.

Camps Bay club shooting

Public order police officers, who had been stationed nearby, then intervened.

This continued after midnight, into Saturday morning.

The targeting of clubs by a certain underworld faction comes as two men were wounded in Café Caprice in the early hours of Monday.

That shooting is believed to be linked to a major power tussle for control of the lucrative nightclub security industry.

Following the Cafe Caprice shooting, three suspects were arrested on attempted murder charges.

But the charges were withdrawn in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Wednesday and they were released from custody.

Nearly a month ago, the new grouping - apparently headed by businessman Nafiz Modack - snatched control from the older grouping.

Several sources, with ties to police and the underworld, believe the shift in club security has been orchestrated by police and informants to try and take down key underworld players.

But the State Security Agency has denied this.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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