R20 000 offered for club owner's murder, court hears in underworld case

2017-12-19 19:33
(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

(File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Cape Town - Two "individuals" would have been paid R10 000 each if they killed a prominent Cape Town club owner, using a specially-provided semi-automatic firearm and a revolver, a court heard on Tuesday.

Hussain Ait Taleb, 49, a martial arts expert better known in bouncer circles as Hussain Moroccan, faces a conspiracy to commit murder charge.

He appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Tuesday to apply for bail.

Taleb works for Bellville-based company Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, which trades as The Security Group (TSG), and which is the focus of investigations into underworld activities.

On Tuesday, Sergeant Edward Edwardes, the investigating officer in Taleb’s case who is probing underworld matters, described TSG as a driving force in a nightclub security takeover playing out in Cape Town.

For a detailed breakdown on what has been happening in the underworld, see News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked

In the Cape Town Regional Court last month another director of TSG, Grant Veroni, had applied for bail.

Veroni faces two charges relating to the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

He also faces a fraud charge in a separate case, set to be heard in Bellville, in which it is alleged that Veroni and a second accused recruited security guards and applied for firearm licences for them, but never actually employed them.

During Veroni’s bail application last month it emerged that TSG, according to Edwardes, was linked to underworld figures including controversial businessman Nafiz Modack and Colin Booysen - the brother of alleged Sexy Boys gang leader Jerome “Donkie” Booysen.

Underworld crackdown

Modack and Colin Booysen were among seven suspects arrested last Friday in a police crackdown on underworld activities. They are expected to apply for bail in the Cape Town Magistrate's Court next Wednesday.

Earlier this year, a group of men headed by Modack started taking over the control of nightclub security from a more established grouping.

This resulted in violence and several shootings.

On Tuesday Edwardes testified that if Taleb tried to cut ties with TSG, his life would be in danger 

“He will be killed,” Edwardes said.

He detailed what Taleb allegedly did.

Murder contract

“The accused contracted two individuals and supplied them with illegal firearms to take a hit out on a prominent club owner,” Edwardes testified.

“They would be paid R10 000 each after the crime was successfully committed.”

Edwardes said he could not yet divulge the name of the targeted club owner given the sensitive nature of the matter.

“This specific person is a witness in several cases being investigated against TSG,” he said.

Edwardes said on October 8, the two individuals contracted to carry out the murder went to Taleb’s home in Milnerton.

There they were given two firearms, a 9mm semi-automatic firearm and a .38 special revolver, as well as a photograph of the club owner they were meant to kill.

Edwardes said the duo were also told which car the owner used and where he would be.

The two had then left and on their way home police officers had searched them. 

Edwardes said the firearms were discovered on them and the two were then questioned.  This was when the allegations about Taleb surfaced.

Officers had gone to Taleb’s house, accompanied by one of his alleged co-conspirators.

Replica firearms discovered

Edwardes said the officers found two replica firearms and a police item - an item which an officer wears to show his or her rank - which members of the public are not meant to have.

He said Taleb needed to be restrained when he was arrested and officers said they had used force to do so.

Edwardes testified about how TSG, which he said was at the forefront of the nightclub takeover, operated. 

He said members had approached nightclub and restaurant owners and forced them to use security from the company.

“If the company doesn't want to use the services of TSG, there will be individuals sent to the establishment,” Eduardes testified.

‘Hits taken out on club owners’

“In extreme cases like this one there will be hits taken out on owners who do not comply with the request of TSG.”

Edwardes said Taleb had been tasked with collecting protection money and was called if there was any trouble at clubs in the Cape Town city centre.

“He is the two or three times Moroccan world champion kickboxer. He knows how to enforce maximum force on a person,” he said.

“He's actually a weapon by himself.”

Edwardes said one of those contracted to kill the club owner feared being killed because he had subsequently received death threats.

An affidavit by Taleb was read out in court.

In it he alleged that police officers had beat him up when arresting him at his Milnerton home on October 8.

‘Cops violently assaulted me’

“They violently assaulted me. I was struck with the butt of a rifle in my face,” Taleb said.

His nose was broken and he sustained other injuries, including bruised ribs.

Taleb said he was the owner of a gym, the Moroccan Panther Marshall Arts Gym, which is located at his Milnerton home.

He was also a fitness and martial arts instructor.

Several of his students came from disadvantaged backgrounds, Taleb said, so he did not charge them.

He had been involved in the security industry since 1996.

Security consultant to politicians

At one point he was a security consultant for politicians.

Taleb said in 2010 he had also focused on ridding Long Street, in the Cape Town city centre, of crime.

“I worked together with the authorities to clean up Long Street,” he said, adding that at that stage pickpockets had been a major problem.

Taleb said he had a previous conviction relating to an incident in 1999.

During this incident he had fired a gun in a municipal area - he said this related to his work in the security industry and had involved a fight between several groups in Claremont.

In 2012 Taleb pleaded guilty to working for a security company not registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority. He was fined R4 500 for this.

Taleb’s bail application is set to continue on Thursday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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