Firearms, explosives targeted in Cape nightclub underworld clampdown

2017-05-29 13:11
Police, including officers from the task force and national investigating unit from Johannesburg, effectively shut down Long Street in Cape Town late on Friday in a massive raid. (Picture: Supplied)

Police, including officers from the task force and national investigating unit from Johannesburg, effectively shut down Long Street in Cape Town late on Friday in a massive raid. (Picture: Supplied)

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Cape Town – Police were authorised to search any person and any premises for firearms and explosives, without search warrants, as part of a major underworld crackdown carried out in the Cape Town city centre late on Friday night.

The mammoth operation included members of the Hawks, the special task force and the national intervention unit from Johannesburg combing through nightclubs, and effectively blocking off Long Street on Friday evening and into the early hours of Saturday.

Helicopters were also used in the massive operation.

The intervention comes as an underworld war for control over the lucrative nightclub security industry, as well as the drug and illicit tobacco trade, has been intensifying.

Cape Town has so far been the epicentre of the battle.

Key players from a new faction gaining control from an older underworld faction have recently been making their way around the Cape Town city centre, and going into establishments to check out security.

News24 has seen a copy of the authorisation for Friday’s operation, signed by Western Cape police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula.

It allowed for police to cordon off several streets, including Long Street, from Friday evening until Saturday morning.

Guns, ammunition and explosives

Jula also allowed for officers to "without a warrant search persons, premises, vehicles, receptacles or objects of whatsoever nature, in order to seize illegal firearms, ammunition and explosives and any object referred to in section 20 of the Criminal Procedure Act".

The letter of authorisation allowed for officers to seize any of those items.

On April 21, police had seized firearms and ammunition from a group of men who had again gathered outside a city strip club.

It is understood they are linked to the new underworld faction.

These guns and ammunition were later returned to them, after they obtained a court order forcing police to return the items.

The authorisation letter used on Friday said anyone "whose rights are or have been affected by the search and seizure" should be shown the letter.

The "fundamental rights of every person" needed to be taken into account when carrying out actions allowed by the authorisation.

On Saturday, police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana declined to provide details of the major operation.

"The police conduct operations all the time guided by crime trends and patterns," she said.

"We urge the media to respect the fact that we do not divulge details of our activities, out of operational concerns."

Clashes and shootings

Violence linked to the underworld started boiling over at the end of March, when the new faction started taking over club security.

Businessman Nafiz Modack is said to be heading the new faction, which is effectively hijacking the control of club security from an older, more established grouping.

This has resulted in clashes between the two groupings, and several shootings.

In just some of the incidents, a woman was wounded in a popular Loop Street nightclub earlier this month, while on April 17 two men were wounded in a shooting in Café Caprice in Camps Bay.

Several sources with links to policing and the underworld believe the shift in the club security industry has been orchestrated by police and informants trying to take down key underworld players.

The State Security Agency (SSA) has previously denied this.

News24 earlier this month witnessed Modack and Northern Cape police commissioner Risimati Shivuri sitting together and talking at an upmarket hotel near the V&A Waterfront.

It is not clear what they were discussing.

Well-placed sources, with intimate knowledge of the situation, have also claimed that former acting Western Cape police commissioner Major General Patrick Mbotho has met with Modack at least twice over matters relating to a vehicle and firearms.

Mbotho has denied this.

Read more on:    saps  |  cape town  |  gangs  |  gang violence  |  crime

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