After the first bout of attacks in Cape Town in 2013, violence snaked over to Johannesburg where it erupted spectacularly – on 24 July a remote-controlled device was used in a failed apparent attempt to assassinate Radovan Krejcír outside his Bedfordview business premises.
The attack was reported to be linked to the Cape Town movie industry, but it was also reported that a source said that the bizarre shooting may have related to Krejcír's dealings with Cape Town gangsters over territory – a meeting the previous week between Krejcír and 'one of Cape Town's most notorious members of the underworld' in an attempt to iron out their differences 'didn't go well'.
Back in Cape Town, on 30 July, it was reported that a 30-year-old woman and her boyfriend had been shot in Hard Livings and Americans gang stronghold Manenberg. The boyfriend had been killed outright; the woman had been taken to hospital with a bullet in her neck. The woman, a police informant, was the survivor in a rape and kidnapping case for which Rashied Staggie had been convicted and sentenced in 2003 to fifteen years in jail. At the time of the rape the woman was 19 years old and had a 3-year-old daughter.
After the shooting, the woman's mother said that the woman had been in witness protection but had missed her family and eventually left the protective service, returning to Manenberg, where her family had constantly feared for her safety. A week after the shooting, the mother said, she'd switched off her daughter's life support machines.
Jeremy Vearey, in his capacity as a police officer, told reporters that the woman had died. But it later emerged that this was all an elaborate ruse. 'I exploited the fact that the Hard Livings thought they had gotten rid of her,' Vearey said in September 2013. 'I know there were gang members scouring the hospital wards looking for her as well as going to her family's houses. We needed to protect her. I am responsible for the life of a person, [and] I will do whatever is necessary to ensure their safety.'
Cape Town's city centre became the next scene of the 2013 violence, and this time it unfolded daringly close to a court of law. Suspected 28s gangster Saliem John, Ralph Stanfield's cousin, was shot on the steps of the Western Cape High Court on 9 October. John, an alleged 28s gangster who was based in Valhalla Park and was on trial for several crimes, survived the shooting.
This attack was particularly brazen, given that there was a CCTV camera located near the entrance to the building; in addition, the court is located on a fussy little street nearly always clogged with cars, providing no clean getaway route.
The attempted hit on John was viewed as an attack on the 28s, so it was no surprise when an apparent retaliatory attack on the Sexy Boys then unfolded. Leon 'Lyons' Davids, the man suspected of having pulled the trigger on Cyril Beeka and therefore a critical witness to the assassination, was killed hours later on the same day John was wounded, 9 October, in a hit while at a braai in Sexy Boys stronghold Belhar.
Following Beeka's assassination, Davids had gone into witness protection – there were strong rumours suggesting that Davids had started talking to cops and Hawks investigators about Beeka's murder (including who was with him when he'd pulled the trigger) and that these officers had convinced Davids to accept state protection given the extremely sensitive information he had about this high-profile Western Cape killing. But, the story goes, Davids had been lured out into the open by the promise of being able to run an upmarket club in Loop Street in the Cape Town city centre.
Further and wilder rumours went along the lines of a senior police officer having sold affidavits relating to Beeka's murder to underworld figures who then, seeing in the documents what Davids had initially told cops, had had him eliminated.
* This extract was taken from The Enforcers by Caryn Dolley, published by Jonathan Ball Publishers.