Infighting, drug clashes - here's what is igniting Cape Town's gang battles

2017-07-28 12:09


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Cape Town - Bitter fighting, within a gang and involving a group of hitmen, is one of the factors said to be a driving force behind a recent surge in shootings around Cape Town.

News24 has established that several shootings in different areas, which may appear to be isolated and unrelated, are in fact connected.

Various sources, with intimate knowledge of gangs, have explained that infighting in the 28s gang has resulted in several hits and attempted hits.

This is aside from rival gangs fighting each other, mainly over the drug trade.

A tussle for control of nightclub security in the city centre is also playing a role in the violence.

All these battles are intertwined, sources say, and have resulted in a surge of shootings around Cape Town recently.

Hot spots

Elsies River, about 20km from the city centre, and Bishop Lavis, about 18km from it, are among the most volatile areas in terms of gang violence.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut told News24 the heads of the Bishop Lavis and Elsies River stations had detected the recent increase in gang-related violence.

"The safety of the community is of utmost importance and therefore various crime fighting initiatives have been introduced to curb the tendency in both Bishop Lavis and Elsies River," he said.

"For operational reasons, the finer aspects of our approach cannot be disclosed, however, it is worthy to mention that additional resources have been deployed to the areas and frequent crime prevention operations are being conducted."

In less than 48 hours in Bishop Lavis last week, three men and a teen were shot dead.

In another of the latest shootings, a 37-year-old man was killed on Monday in Belhar - a stronghold of the Sexy Boys gang which is about 20km from the city centre.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said the man was wounded several times in the head.

Interlinked battles

Sources have explained that the violence is linked because:

* The Sexy Boys gang, which has a stronghold in Belhar, along with the 26s, is fighting the Hard Livings gang over drug turf. Sexy Boys gang members are also said to be involved in an underworld turf war over nightclub security. 

Hard Livings gang members are also said to be backing some of those involved in the underworld turf war.

* The Bad Boys gang, with a stronghold in Elsies River, is backed by the Sexy Boys and 26s. This gang is fighting their rivals, the Terrible Josters, over drug turf, predominantly in Elsies River. The Terrible Josters are said to be fighting on behalf of a businessman allegedly involved in the illicit trade of perlemoen.

* Three factions of the 28s are fighting each other. 

The one faction is said to be headed by an alleged gang boss, who kept a low profile for years, and is now apparently forcing his way back into the picture - this is said to have sparked a series of shootings. This faction is fighting, among others, the Hard Livings.

This faction is also taking on a second 28s faction headed by someone younger, yet well-respected within the gang, who is intent on taking over drug turf in various areas.

A third 28s faction, the Mobsters, a group of hitmen with strongholds including Bishop Lavis, are taking on the younger alleged gang leader and his associates. However, the Mobsters also hire out their services. 

Mobsters members go into specific areas where a hit needs to be carried out. 

Recent shootings

The shooting and wounding of alleged Sexy Boys gang leader Jerome "Donkie" Booysen on May 8 is one of more recent high profile shootings.

Booysen was wounded in a shooting in Ravensmead, which is near Elsies River - Terrible Josters and Bad Boys turf.

According to several sources with knowledge of what happened, Booysen had been on his way to meet Deon Williams, also known as Igor, who allegedly had ties to the 26s gang and who was also shot, but died.

A faction of the 28s gang is said to be fighting the Sexy Boys and 26s.

On July 6, alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Johannesburg.

At the time several sources feared this incident would cause retaliation shootings.

On July 10, a man was killed and two others wounded in Parow.

This incident is said to have stemmed from fighting in Elsies River, near where Booysen was wounded.

Last Thursday, July 20, a 16-year-old who sources claim was a 28s gangster, was shot and killed as he was walking home after appearing in court in a drug possession case outside the crime intelligence office in Bishop Lavis.

The teen was said to be linked to the Mobsters.

In the early hours of the next morning, Friday, July 21, two petrol attendants were killed, while a third was injured along with a customer, in a shooting at a Bishop Lavis petrol station, which News24 understands is owned by an alleged 28s gang boss.

This was said to be a revenge attack for the 16-year-old’s killing.

Later on Friday a man was killed and three others were wounded in a shooting at a Bishop Lavis shopping centre. An AK47 was said to have been used.


News24 understands members of the Mobsters may have been brought in for this incident.

It was said to be a retaliation attack for the attack on the petrol station.

The Mobsters, who have strong ties to the 28s prison gang, are responsible for a spate of previous murders carried out in areas including Belhar, Eerste River and Bishop Lavis.

At the time they were known to be meticulous in planning incidents and were known to shoot in certain areas while police were changing shifts or simply to divert attention to a specific location.

They would then carry out attacks in other locations knowing police were focused elsewhere.

Suspected Mobsters head Nathaniel Moses was murdered in Strand on January 15, 2016, making way for another leader.

His killing has not yet been solved.

Read more on:    cape town  |  gang violence  |  narcotics  |  underworld  |  crime

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