This is clearly a hit - activist on attorney's murder

Cape Town – The murder of a well-known Western Cape attorney, who was linked to some of the province's most high-profile gang cases, could only be a hit, an anti-crime activist said on Tuesday.

While few were willing to speak out on the motive behind Noorudien Hassan's murder on Monday night, Hanif Loonat openly shared his views.

"This is clearly a hit. Nobody robs a vehicle on the passenger's side," he said.

Hassan, 45, was shot several times while in a car outside his home in Lansdowne late on Monday.

It is understood that he died in hospital.

Hassan had apparently been with a Lansdowne police reservist, inside the reservist's car, at the time of the attack.

Paying their last respects

"When the shooting started, he [the reservist] ran out the vehicle and ran for his life," said Loonat.

"But according to him, he could feel bullets [flying] around him."

Loonat joined a large crowd gathered outside Hassan's mother's home in Lansdowne on Tuesday afternoon.

Neighbours, friends, family, lawyers and associates came to pay their respects at the modest white house attached to the store the Hassan brothers ran.

A dark blue funeral home van stood parked outside.

Loonat said he believed that someone had been following Hassan and monitoring his daily routine.

Motive unknown

Police spokesperson Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said the shooting happened at 22:05 on Monday in Burwood Road, Crawford.

One gunman was involved in the shooting and no arrests have been made, Rwexana said.

While some sources close to Hassan said his killing could be linked to his work, Rwexana said "the motive for the murder is yet to be established".

Dawood Khan, a business associate who had worked with Hassan for 11 years, said he was devastated when he heard the news on Monday night.

"He was a hard-working person and very dedicated to his clients and business."

He said Hassan was also very spiritual and loved his wife and children.

Previous attacks

Pete Mihalik, an advocate who worked with Hassan, was very emotional as he reflected on their 18-year relationship.

He said Hassan never discriminated and believed in everyone deserved a fair trial. He took on causes that sometimes made him unpopular.

"Everyone will miss him terribly." 

Monday night was not the first time Hassan had been targeted. In May 2014 an explosive device was thrown at his home.

Hassan had not been there at the time, but relatives were and managed to escape unscathed.

Bodyguards and private security guards were seen at the house on Tuesday afternoon. SA Police Service officers sat in a Mitchells Plain tactical response team van on the other side of the road.

Alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield was seen walking through the crowd in a bulletproof vest.

High-profile cases

Hassan at one stage acted on behalf of Stanfield, the nephew of the late Cape Town drug lord Colin Stanfield.

He was among a team of attorneys representing Irshaad Laher, who is facing charges for allegedly channelling guns meant for destruction by police to gang bosses around the Western Cape.

He also represented Jerome "Donkie" Booysen, who four years ago was named as the head of the Sexy Boys gang during a court case.

About five years ago it emerged that Booysen was a suspect in underworld figure Cyril Beeka's 2011 murder.

Hassan was also previously involved in representing members of Cape Town's notorious nightclub bouncer industry.

He leaves behind his wife Mehraaj, his 9-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter.

Police have urged anyone with information about Hassan's murder to contact the Lansdowne police detectives on 021 700 9000 or 082 567 2804 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

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