Hawks arrest 2 in 'underworld' security firearms case

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Hawks. (Theana Breugem, Media24, file)
Hawks. (Theana Breugem, Media24, file)

Cape Town - Two suspects have been arrested as part of a massive investigation into illegal guns, nightclub violence and private security.

The two, Grant Veroni and Vincent Phillips, work at the Bellville-based security company Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, trading as The Security Group (TSG), which has twice before been the target of police and Hawks operations.

They appeared in the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Friday.

Bruce Hendricks, who heads up Hassan-Harmse Attorneys, represented the duo.

He said they were each released on R3 000 bail.

Hendricks said the case was postponed for three months as Phillips was to soon undergo a major heart operation.

Western Cape Hawks spokesperson Captain Lloyd Ramovha told News24 that the TSG premises were searched on Friday morning. Computers were seized.

For a detailed breakdown on underworld activities in the province visit News24's showcase Underworld Unmasked here.

He said Veroni and Phillips were arrested on charges, including fraud and others, under the Firearms Control Act.

A task team, set up by the Hawks to tackle serious threats in the Western Cape, is investigating underworld violence in nightclubs.

Earlier this year, a new grouping headed by controversial businessman Nafiz Modack, started taking control of nightclub security in Cape Town from a more established grouping.

Modack has also made inroads into nightclub security in Johannesburg.

Several violent incidents and shootings have played out since the start of the takeover.

Shotguns confiscated

On July 12, police seized six shotguns, two handguns and ammunition, from TSG.

These guns were to have been possibly sent for ballistic testing to see if they were used in recent shootings.

In an effort to get these weapons back, TSG approached the Western Cape High Court in August for an urgent order forcing the police to return the firearms. The application was unsuccessful.

READ: Guns seized in underworld clampdown on security company previously confiscated outside strip club

In court papers, the State said TSG had used a list of registered guards it never employed to get several shotguns.

No proper records were kept of these guns and they may have been handed to people not licensed to use them.

During the attempt to get an urgent order to have the firearms returned, it emerged that Veroni was being investigated for fraud.

TSG was previously involved in a similar court application to get back guns seized outside a city centre strip club on April 21. This application succeeded and the weapons were returned.

READ THIS EXCLUSIVE: People want me dead because of my security industry connections - underworld figure Modack

In an exclusive interview with News24 last week, Modack said he was involved in TSG and that when firearms from the company were seized outside the city centre strip club in April, these had been taken from men who were "protecting" him.

In April, News24 reported that TSG claimed online that its members work with police and intelligence officers.

But the State Security Agency distanced itself from the company.

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