AGE OF THE ASSASSIN
Nafiz Modack arrest sets Cape underworld ajitter as net closes
Is the arrest of alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack the beginning of the end — and will he finally be convicted of the serious criminal charges he faces?
Daily Maverick168 put the question to several individuals with affiliations to the underworld, but most were prepared to speak only under the condition of anonymity, fearing for their lives and those of their families.
Such is the fear that surrounds Nafiz Modack and the gang wars surrounding Cape Town’s lucrative “night-time economy” that has raged for more than three decades.
The overwhelming response from those caught in these violent underworld currents is that Modack is a mere football in the game and that those “dishing out yellow or red cards” were corrupt police officials and politicians who had enabled him to amass power.
One man who was prepared to go on record is ex-bouncer boss and alleged underworld figure Andre Naude. He opined that the collusion between police and crooks was “Cape Capture”. Asked to elaborate, Naude offered: “Unfortunately only one person has this answer and that is Modack. Only he can tell us how the pieces of this puzzle fit together.”
Naude’s view is that the purpose of “Cape Capture” was to destabilise the region. Several businesses have been forced to close their doors as a result of this strong-arming. Criminal elements simply walked into clubs, wreaked havoc and left, while no one was ever arrested, added Naude.
Nici Heerschap (74), the father of Hawks investigator Warrant Officer Nico Heerschap, was shot dead near his home in Melkbosstrand, Cape Town in July 2019. No arrests have been made. His son, who had been investigating firearm and vehicle fraud in gang circles, had been due to testify in the Cape Town Regional Court.
Three underworld figures echoed Naude’s sentiments, with one saying that the Western Cape was “on a knife-edge with everyone linked to the underworld closely watching the Modack case unfold”.
The State has been battling to get Modack behind bars. In February 2020 Modack and alleged underworld figures Colin Booysen, Ashley Fields and Jacques Cronje were acquitted in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on extortion charges relating to an alleged racket that targeted the nightclub and restaurant industry in Cape Town.
Most recently, Modack was arrested on Thursday, 28 April after a high-speed car chase by members of the National Task Team investigating the assassination of Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) section commander Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear and a failed murder attempt on criminal lawyer William Booth.
Kinnear was killed in front of his Cape Town house on Friday 18 September 2020, while Booth escaped unharmed after shots were fired at him outside his Cape Town house on 9 April 2020. So far only former rugby player and debt collector Zane Kilian has been arrested in connection with Kinnear’s murder. However, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Monday, 3 May that Modack will also be charged with this murder.
Modack made several court appearances this week. On Monday, he appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, contravention of the Electronic Communications Act, and money laundering. His co-accused, Ricardo Morgan, faces only the money laundering charge.
These charges emanate from the attempt to murder Booth. Kilian is facing the same charges in the Booth matter and for the first time since Kilian’s arrest on 23 September 2020, he appeared alongside Modack, on Friday, 7 May, in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court.
In the same court, charges of intimidation, kidnapping, extortion, money laundering and contravention of the Electronic Communications Act were read out to Modack and co-accused Jacques Cronje and Ricardo Morgan. These charges stem from an alleged extortion incident on 9 March 2020 near Crystal Towers Hotel, Rialto Road, Century City.
It is alleged that a businessman was kidnapped by Modack and Cronje, threatened until he signed an admission of debt for R600,000 and forced to do an immediate EFT of R90,000.
On Tuesday, 4 May, Modack appeared at the Bishop Lavis Magistrates’ Court, charged with attempts to kill Kinnear in November 2019. The murder attempts included a petrol bomb attack, shooting and a hand grenade attack.
In this matter, Modack faces five counts of conspiracy to commit murder, as well as charges of attempted murder, conspiracy to acquire explosives and gang-related charges. Amaal Jantjies and Janick Adonis are accused alongside him.
Modack also faces a charge of corruption, and in this instance it is the State’s contention that Modack allegedly used Jantjies to infiltrate the AGU and corrupt Sergeant Ashley Tabisher. The role of Tabisher, as outlined in the charge sheet, was to inform Modack of all raids the AGU would carry out at his house and the names of those who supplied the AGU with information about him.
“Tabisher agreed to a gratification of R10,000,” the charge sheet states, and in addition, Modack is alleged to have paid him R3,500 for the purchase of a cellphone.
Naude said too many people had lost their lives and that Modack must “tell us how it happened, who was involved and how we got to the point where we are today”.
However, Naude believes that if Modack “talks he will be killed”.
Naude said he wanted Modack to be kept alive “even if it means keeping him in a padded room with his hands tied. He owes us answers.”
Naude said he was not optimistic that the violence, extortion and murder in the fight for control of the night-time economy of Cape Town would subside.
“There is no calm in the industry. There are still gangster elements deeply involved,” Naude said.
Sadly, Naude added, a top policeman like Charl Kinnear had to die for the beginning of the end of Cape Capture. DM168