Cape Town – Firearms seized at a security company in Bellville on Wednesday are set to become the focus of a mammoth investigation focusing on a series of shootings with possible links to the underworld.
News24 also understands some of the firearms seized at the company, The Security Group (TSG), which was raided on Wednesday following an inspection there last week by a task team cracking down on underworld activities, were in April confiscated by police from a group of men gathered outside a city centre strip club.
But the weapons, which were apparently tested for possible links to a shooting inside a Camps Bay establishment that same month, were given back to them after they turned to the Western Cape High Court.
It is some of these guns which have now again been seized, this time by the task team, including Hawks officers, private security regulators and members of the national intervention unit from Johannesburg.
Western Cape Hawks spokesperson Lloyd Ramovha on Wednesday confirmed that firearms had been seized during the raid at TSG.
No arrests were made.
Bruce Hendricks, who heads up Hassen-Harmse Attorneys and who represents some of those who own the firearms, on Wednesday declined to comment on the matter.
Sources with close knowledge of the matter said the firearms would form part of a massive investigation into several shootings which have played out over the last few months.
But those owning the weapons may again try and have authorities return them, which could pose a stumbling block for the probe.
An underworld turf war, stemming from a tussle to control the lucrative nightclub security industry, has resulted in several recent shootings.
One grouping, said to be headed by businessman Nafiz Modack, is said to be taking control of bouncer operations from a more established grouping.
Last week in one of the latest violent incidents, alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Johannesburg.
Stanfield has since returned to Cape Town and is in hospital.
On Wednesday morning a man, understood to be one of his bodyguards, was arrested outside the hospital.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut confirmed the man was arrested for allegedly having an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
News24 knows which hospital the arrest took place at, but Traut did not name it.
The man would appear in court once formally charged.
Initial gun confiscation and return
On April 21, News24 had witnessed how the new underworld grouping had gone to some clubs.
Armed men had been stationed outside the doors of establishments they had gone to.
Police had seized firearms and ammunition from them outside a strip club, where a group had previously gathered.
But these were returned to the group after they obtained a court order to get the weapons and ammunition back.
According to court papers, the seized weapons – three shotguns, three Taurus pistols, a 9mm Browning and two 9mm Caniks – were to be tested for links to a shooting in which two men were wounded in Café Caprice on April 17.
The firearms, according to the court papers, belonged to individuals and two security companies – Eagle VIP Security and Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo.
Links to latest seized guns
Included in court papers was a letter, dated April 28, addressed to police.
It said Hassan-Harmse attorneys acted on behalf of Eagle VIP Security, represented by Mathys Visser, and Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, represented by Grant Abel Veroni.
TSG lists Veroni, on its website, as its chief executive officer.
On Thursday morning, Veroni declined to comment on the matter.
TSG’s Facebook page also named its sister company as Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo.
It said this sister company offered "legal assistance, provincial and national liquor licence application, rescission of judgment, immigration, labour disputes and property rentals".
In April, News24 reported that The Security Group claimed to have links to intelligence services.
The State Security Agency denied these links.