Illicit cigarette trading linked to murder of Cape Town gang boss – sources

2017-04-03 21:17
The scene outside a nightclub in Cape Town (YouTube screengrab)

The scene outside a nightclub in Cape Town (YouTube screengrab)

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Cape Town - The murder of a Fancy Boys gang leader on Saturday has apparently lifted the lid on the massive illicit cigarette trade, said to be one of the most lucrative industries dominated by underworld factions.

News24 understands that Shamiel Eyssen, 45, who was gunned down in Bishop Lavis on Saturday, was killed because he was owed money in a major cigarette deal.

Either some or all of the money he was owed was not paid to him and the businessman who was meant to pay it is now on the run, according to sources.

Eyssen's murder is also apparently linked to a major battle for control of the club security business in Cape Town. He was allegedly linked to an older faction which previously dominated the scene, and which is now being toppled by a newer faction.

The newer faction was on Monday said to be headed to Johannesburg to take over clubs previously dominated by the older faction.

A source with intimate knowledge of what is happening told News24 that four busloads of men had started travelling to Johannesburg on Monday morning, intent on taking over security operations at the majority of clubs in the centre of the city.

Their leaders were apparently set to fly to Johannesburg.

However, this could not immediately be confirmed.

Outstanding payment

The same figures involved in the club security industry are also operators in the illicit cigarette trade.

According to sources, a cigarette delivery truck was recently hijacked in Woodstock.

They say the businessman, now said to be on the run, was meant to pay for the stolen loot, but either did not pay at all, or only paid a fraction of what he was supposed to.

Eyssen was therefore, according to sources, killed, so that he would no longer have to be paid.

He had recently been released from jail.

In 2007, Eyssen was convicted of racketeering in a case that marked the first time the Prevention of Organised Crime Act was used to convict anyone for membership of a criminal gang.

He was a member of a housebreaking syndicate which targeted wealthy homes.

Backing from state officials

On Saturday, police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed Eyssen's murder.

She said three unidentified suspects had shot him and fled in a silver Toyota Yaris.

"Circumstance surrounding this incident are under investigation," Rwexana said.

The club security tussle, which is now starting to affect the illicit cigarette trade, started last week.

Nafiz Modack, who was previously linked to an alleged scam involving luxury cars, is apparently the ringleader of the new group which has taken on the old group.

One source has claimed senior state officials could be backing the new group, but this could not be confirmed.

Asked on Friday via email if it was true that he and his allies had taken control of security at at least 25 clubs in the Cape Town city centre, Modack replied: "All the owners agreed and it will create jobs for the local people, and security, who was neva given the opptunity  to work in there own home town [sic]."

A number of clubs previously employed foreigners as security guards.

News24 understands that in the early hours of Saturday a club in Long Street was trashed after the new faction failed to get the club to sign up for the faction's security services.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said a business robbery was being investigated "following an incident at a bar in Long Street on [April 1] at 02:30".

"A group of men fled with cash and they are yet to be arrested".

'I'm no gangster, I'm a businessman'

News24 understands the fight over the lucrative industry started last Wednesday at auctions involving two of Modack's properties in the northern suburbs.

A massive brawl broke out at the second property in Parow on Wednesday.

Controversial businessmen, including Mark Lifman and Andre Naude, who previously ran a nightclub security operation which was shut down as it was not registered as required by law, were present when the altercation took place.

On Wednesday, Modack admitted to News24 that this had led to a further clash - several men had later gone on to try and storm a strip club in the city centre to take over security.

"I did warn them u wana take wats mine il take wats yours 2nyt an I dun just that , im no gangster im a businessman and only fear god no one else [sic],"  Modack said.

He went on to say that clubs were being taken over to ensure patrons' safety.

Authorities are aware of incidents involving a group of men challenging club security operations in the city.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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