Cape Town - Firearms seized by police from a group of men who had gathered outside a city strip club, in activities which appeared to be related to the underworld, were on Friday returned to them after they approached a court to get the weapons back.
A group of men, accompanied by attorney Bruce Hendricks, gathered at the Cape Town police station on Friday afternoon to collect the weapons.
A security vehicle was parked at the entrance. About half an hour later, they emerged carrying firearms in bags.
Hendricks, who heads up Hassen-Harmse Attorneys and represents two security companies, said they were satisfied. They were, however, still waiting for some bullets.
On Wednesday, a notice of motion was filed in the Western Cape High Court, ahead of an urgent application on Friday, to get the guns returned.
The notice of motion said the guns had been ballistically tested to see if any of the weapons were linked to a shooting in which two men were wounded in Café Caprice in Camps Bay on April 17.
But on Friday, the State agreed to hand back the firearms, belonging to individuals and two security companies - Eagle VIP Security and Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo.
In April, News24 reported this second company was a sister company of The Security Group, a company which claimed to have links to intelligence services.
The State Security Agency denied these links.
Court action to have the firearms returned stems from an incident outside the city strip club on April 21.
News24 had witnessed a group of men, one of them armed with what appeared to be a leg-length firearm, first congregate outside a nightclub in the city centre.
They had then moved in a convoy to the strip club.
Battle for control
The Camps Bay shooting and this group are widely believed to be linked to a battle for control over nightclub security.
A new grouping is said to be ousting an older more established grouping which maintained control of the bouncer industry for years.
In the notice of motion filed on Wednesday, Mark Visser of Eagle VIP Security, said he had been one of those who had gathered outside the strip club.
But he said he had done so to provide protection to private clients, who he did not name.
Visser said he had planned to launch an application on Friday against, among others, provincial police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula, the minister of justice and constitutional development, and police officers Major-General Jeremy Vearey and Captain Sharon Jafta.
He said his security business, registered with the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (Psira), provided a security service "to protect, and ensure the safety, of various clients, including both businesses and private individuals".
He said that on April 21, he and Jacques Cronje - an employee of Eagle VIP Security and someone who News24 has established has been involved in club security for years - "were performing security services for various private clients".
Cronje, according to the affidavit, had a Canik 55 9mm parabellum, licenced to Eagle VIP Security, concealed on his wrist.
Visser had a 9mm Browning "private self-defence firearm".
"Due to the nature of the private clients for which we were providing security services, I was accompanied by members of another security company, and as such I was in possession of a 12 BR shotgun," he said.
'Unlawful, arbitrary and confusing'
Visser, in his affidavit, said police officers, led by Jafta who said she was acting on Vearey's instructions, had arrived.
"[They] behaved in a manner that was bizarre, unlawful, arbitrary and confusing, to state the least."
The men were searched and firearms were seized. Visser said no search warrant was produced at any stage.
Previously, Conje was linked to two other security companies.
Underworld kingpin Cyril Beeka, who was killed in 2011, ran the company Pro Security, along with Cronje.
Cronje was also involved in the bouncer company Specialised Protection Services, which was run by, among others, controversial businessmen Andre Naude and Mark Lifman.
But it was soon shut down as it was not registered with Psira.
Cronje later fell out with his SPS associates as he faced allegations of misappropriating company money, assault, and missing meetings.