Gangster whistle-blower attacked

2011-02-15 00:00

DAYS after self-confessed gangster Eugene Viljoen lifted the lid in the Weekend Witness on his life of crime with Krugersdorp godfather and fugitive Ralph Haynes, he was attacked by armed men in his home.

Several shots were fired, but nobody was injured.

Viljoen, widely known as “Little Ralph”, spoke exclusively to the Weekend Witness recently about how he and Haynes have, over the past two decades, knocked, stolen and defrauded millions of rands from their hapless victims.

Viljoen ditched Haynes several months ago and has made a series of affidavits to police investigators. He said he was visited on Monday afternoon by a Haynes confidante and friend. He wasn’t home, but at around 2 am the following morning, he was awoken by a noise.

“I took my gun. There were armed men trying to get into the house. I fired shots and they ran away. Nobody was hit,” says Viljoen. The police are investigating the intrusion.

Intimidation is a trademark of the Haynes gang and several of Haynes’s alleged victims can attest to receiving death threats when they go to the police. Viljoen is a state witness in a string of charges the South African Police Force (SAPF) is investigating against Haynes.

Haynes disappeared last month, days before the SAPF’s Organised Crime Unit would have pounced on him for a series of crimes.

Police have launched a massive manhunt for Haynes. Hawks spokesperson Colonel McIntosh Polela said Haynes had faked his own death and was probably trying to escape to Cyprus.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s best-known boxing trainer and a property tycoon has been drawn into an alleged car syndicate that is controlled by Haynes.

A West Rand businessperson, Hansi le Roux, alleges that Haynes has stolen several luxury cars and motorcycles from him.

A Harley Davidson landed up with trainer Nick Durandt, who has trained more than 90 champions in a career spanning 23 years, and a Lamborghini with Waleed Investments, a company belonging to Zunaid Moti, who was recently in the news for allegedly owing R1,5 billion to Investec Bank.

Le Roux has laid charges of theft and fraud against, among others, Moti and Durandt. Both deny any wrongdoing.

Le Roux alleges in his statements that Haynes has stolen several of his luxury cars. He told the police that he bought the Lamborghini Murchiélago for R3 million. The Harley is worth R275 000. Haynes allegedly stole both.

Haynes is one of Durandt’s ring assistants, while he and Moti are good friends. Moti was one of the guests at Haynes’s recent 45th birthday bash alongside Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmeyr and former Springbok scrumhalf Joost van der Westhuizen.

Hofmeyr drove around in a R650 000 Dodge Ram truck for nine months in 2009. Haynes had allegedly stolen the truck from an East Rand car dealer. Hofmeyr said he had only “tested” the truck and was unaware that it was stolen.

The police have visited Durandt twice to take a statement from him. He says he bought the motorcycle from Haynes and is legally in possession of it. The motorcycle is registered in his name.

“I am a law-abiding citizen and have never done any business with Haynes. I have done my own investigation and I am satisfied that I am the legal owner,” Durandt said.

Moti said that he and his business partner, Ashruf Kaka had legally bought the Lamborghini from a luxury car dealer and have sold it. Kaka says they have invoices and registration papers to prove that they were the legal owners.

Moti said that they have been intimidated by Le Roux who is making false claims against them. They have in turn been granted a court interdict preventing Le Roux from making statements to the media that they had obtained the Lamborghini illegally.

Le Roux claims that Haynes stole luxury cars and mining machinery worth R14 million from him while he was doing contract work in the United States.

When he came home, he went to the police. “Then the threats and intimidation started. Haynes told me I will die like a dog and that I didn’t know who I was taking on.”

Le Roux, who suffered a stroke last year, said he has lost everything and has had to start all over again. He is one of a number of complainants against Haynes.

Questions have also emerged this week about the police search for Haynes. A week ago, the police were confident that they were hot on Haynes’s heels. They said they were monitoring him in Botswana, that he couldn’t escape and that his arrest was imminent.

This week, however, Polela admitted that Haynes is still at large and is “seasoned at evading capture”. He, however, vowed that the police would eventually track him down.

Polela wouldn’t say this week if the Hawks are still monitoring Haynes. “We are not interested in sharing information with Mr Haynes and empowering him to be a step ahead of our investigating,” he said on Thursday.

Last week Haynes failed to appear in court on a theft charge and a warrant for his arrest was issued.



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