Violent power struggle rocks Cape underworld

2016-11-16 21:42
(Cape Town Central City Improvement District.)

(Cape Town Central City Improvement District.)

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Cape Town - A violent power struggle between gangs is playing out around popular Cape Town entertainment venues, say key players who fear attacks will intensify.

Sources, operating in the underworld, and others in the legal fraternity and police, have told News24 that rival gang associates are fighting for various reasons, such as dominating the lucrative drug trade during the festive season.

These fights, they say, have spilt over from usual gang hotspots into the city centre and surrounds.

One gang and its associates believe rivals are targeting them because of their strong ties to nightclub security. They believe their rivals are trying to force them into retaliation attacks.

“It’s become a war. And we’ll go that route if necessary if we’re pushed,” a source said.

Sources described some of the violent incidents that occurred recently.

They said that three Sundays ago, at 06:04, a bullet was fired at a nightclub in Loop Street. It did not strike anyone.

A black BMW X5 was seen speeding away. Sources at first suspected it was the brother of an alleged gang boss, but later established it was not.

'Trying to keep it quiet'

Provincial police asked News24 for a case number to provide information about the incident, but a police source monitoring what was happening said the matter had not been officially reported.

“They’re trying to keep it quiet,” the police source said, referring to those being targeted.

Around 22:00 on the same Sunday, two young suspected gang members stabbed the brother of a Long Street eatery’s owner.

A staff member, who declined to be named, told News24 the two youngsters were involved in “some random initiation thing on Halloween”.

He said the duo harassed a few tourists on Long Street, and a doorman at a nearby club. The owner’s brother intervened and they stabbed him.

“Police should be here 24 hours a day. This is a tourist street, but this is the perfect example to show how unsafe it is,” the staff member said.

On Wednesday, police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk said a case of intent to do grievous bodily harm case was opened. No arrests had been made.

Attorney murdered

In one of the more recent incidents, Western Cape attorney Noorudien Hassan was murdered in Lansdowne on the evening of November 7.

Hassan had been involved in several high-profile cases linked to gangs. He represented clients including suspected gun runner Irshaad Laher and Jerome “Donkie” Booysen, who four years ago was named as head of the Sexy Boys gang during a court case.

The evening after Hassan was killed, Craig Mathieson, the night manager of Hotel 303, in Sea Point, was murdered inside the establishment. Nothing was stolen from him. Businessman Mark Lifman owns the hotel.

Van Wyk said officers had a plan in place for the festive season, which would focus on “pubs, clubs and restaurants and all other liquor outlets within the Cape Town central city bowl”.

Police would ask liquor outlet owners to act responsibly during the festive season by adhering to closure times, enforcing rules regarding responsible and underage drinking, and by employing security personnel registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira).

Last year, Lifman and another controversial businessman, Andre Naude, were acquitted of 313 charges related to their allegedly operating a major bouncer company without being registered with Psira.

Andre Naude and Mark Lifman outside  the Magistrate's Court in Cape Town in 2012. (Netwerk24)

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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