'Let's hope we don't get shot' – witness in extortion trial of alleged underworld kingpin

2018-11-12 18:55
Suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack (centre) surrounded by protection after his appearance in the Cape Town Regional Court. (File, Jenna Etheridge/News24)

Suspected underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack (centre) surrounded by protection after his appearance in the Cape Town Regional Court. (File, Jenna Etheridge/News24)

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A brand manager of upscale restaurant the Grand Café says he lived in fear when he was unable to pay alleged underworld kingpin Nafiz Modack and three others for security, the Cape Town Regional Court has heard.

Radley Dijkers testified about how the accused – Nafiz Modack, Colin Booysen, Ashley Fields and Jacques Cronje – allegedly took over the restaurant's security and forced the owners to pay for the service in 2017. A fifth accused, Carl Lakay, was shot dead in August in Goodwood.

The accused are facing a string of charges ranging from extortion to money laundering in relation to an alleged extortion racket which targeted the nightclub and restaurant security industry in Cape Town.

Dijkers told the court that in one instance on November 4, 2017, he was unable to get authorisation to pay the R150 000 security fee by 14:00 that day, as requested by Cronje.

READ: Another man killed in possible underworld shooting in Cape Town

When Dijkers told Cronje over the phone that he did not have the authorisation to transfer the R150 000, Cronje informed him that he would be at the restaurant in 30 minutes.

Dijkers and the Grand Café's general manager, Stuart Bailey, met in the parking lot to discuss a way forward before Cronje's arrival.

Restaurant meeting

"We were joking and saying, let's hope we don't get shot. It was an intense situation and Bailey kept on rubbing his head," Dijkers testified.

Video footage shown in court depicts a number of dark vehicles entering the parking lot.

Once the passengers exited the vehicles, Dijkers identified Booysen, clad in a black and white tracksuit, Modack and Cronje.

"Lakay called us over and asked if there is a secure place where we can meet and I told him we could go to the upstairs office," Dijkers said.

"Knowing that Booysen, Modack and Cronje were there to discuss the R150 000, I didn't want them near the customers."

He recounted how, eight months earlier, a convoy of cars including a Porsche and a BMW X5 parked in the restaurant's parking lot.

Journalists barred from photographing lawyers

During that incident, Dijkers was informed that the restaurant's security company would be taken over by TSG – a security company that he was informed was owned by Booysen – despite having never signed a contract or received a quote.

Another video clip played in court shows a large group of men walking through the restaurant's entrance, past patrons, on their way to Dijkers' office.

Earlier on Monday, Magistrate Bruce Pedro barred the media from taking photographs of lawyers involved in the case, in the wake of advocate Pete Mihalik's murder.

READ: Magistrate bars photos being taken of lawyers in underworld extortion case

Mihalik was the lead defence lawyer in the extortion case before recusing himself earlier in the proceedings.

He was gunned down two weeks ago while dropping his children off at school in Green Point. A funeral service was held for him on Saturday.

Court was adjourned and will resume on Tuesday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime
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