Cape Town - Armed men whose guns were confiscated by "irrational" police about two weeks ago outside a city strip club have turned to a court to try and get their weapons back, arguing that they were merely offering private protection.
In the notice of motion, filed in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday, it states that 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 shooting is 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.
News24 is aware of the names of individuals associated with each group.
In the urgent application notice filed in the court on Wednesday by Bruce Hendricks, who heads up Hassen-Harmse Attorneys and who is representing two security companies - only some of those names were mentioned.
News24 understands another urgent application, by a third security company also linked to the firearms, may also soon be launched.
Strip club gatherings
On April 21, a group of men had congregated outside a city centre strip club. They had gathered there on a previous occasion, prompting the police to intervene.
News24 witnessed the April 21 incident after the group, whose members travelled in a convoy, which included a few luxury vehicles, had gathered outside a nearby city centre club.
It is understood that the grouping is the new force linked to the club security matter.
This grouping is said to have congregated outside the strip club on March 30 already, which marked the start of the so-called security takeover.
At least one name that has cropped up in court papers filed so far, that of Jacques Cronje, has before been linked to club security.
In the court papers filed on Wednesday, Mathys Visser of Eagle VIP Security, plans 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.
If the application is to be opposed, his legal team wants to be advised of this by Thursday afternoon.
Visser, 35, in an affidavit, said he owned Eagle VIP Security, which changed its name to VIP 24 Protection in 2015.
He said the 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".
Visser said on April 21 he and Cronje, an employee of Eagle VIP Security, "were performing security services for various private clients".
The names of the clients were not mentioned.
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.
Lawyers' letters in the matter list a second company as Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, which News24 in April reported 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.
Visser's affidavit said on the night of the firearm confiscations, the 12 BR shotgun had been locked in a vehicle over which he had control.
He said that 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.
"Captain Jafta and her members stated they were going to search everyone and stated she was going to seize all firearms. Everyone in the immediate vicinity was told to line up against a wall and were searched."
The firearms of members of the second security company were also seized.
Visser said no search warrant was produced at any stage.
At one stage, Jafta had told them that ballistic testing would be done on the firearms to see if they were connected to the Café Caprice shooting.
"I find this plainly irrational, as the media reported that the Camps Bay shooting was perpetrated with a handgun, whereas Captain Jafta seized three shotguns during her search," Visser said.
"I can firmly state that both the 9mm handguns that were seized and detained… are in no way linked to any criminal offence."
Visser said their photographs were taken so they could be profiled, as would happen with a person charged with an offence.
But no arrests were made and no charges were lodged.
Visser said because the firearms were seized, his business could not provide the necessary services.
"The safety and security of our clientele is severely jeopardised. We are currently suffering financial loss due to the inability to perform upon certain contracts with clients."
Cronje's affidavit said he was also registered with Psira.
'Underworld kingpin' link
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 after he faced allegations of misappropriating company money, assault, and missing meetings.