PRIVATE (IN)SECURITY ANALYSIS
Ayepyep to State Capture – the Western Cape’s chronically converging gang and ‘security’ problems
There have recently been news articles about alleged criminality linked to construction tenders and private security, especially in South Africa’s gang capital, the Western Cape. Despite how politicians react, this is infuriatingly nothing new and again hints at how our safety can be sold.
Patrons have been wounded and doormen have been murdered in Cape Town, becoming collateral in fierce battles for control over purported nightclub security operations.
This is just one of the dangers associated with elements of private security, especially in South Africa’s gangsterism capital the Western Cape.
But these problems go much wider and deeper.
Dubious parts of private security overlap with other crimes, including gangsterism and a by-product of it, construction mafia extortion.
This can obviously seep into government, with state departments doing business with companies in those arenas.
Concocted or real catch-22
What makes this something of a grey area, if one chooses to ignore red flags, is that if companies are not officially blacklisted or confirmed to be committing crime, there is nothing really preventing government from doing business with them.
This is because, on paper, the companies can appear to be above board.
Once contracts and tenders are signed, and a company’s potentially murky past or dodgy links are brought to public attention, it may be difficult for the state to sever business links because of legalities and other reasons, including necessary work that is yet to be concluded.
On the Western Cape government website, a section on tenders says that a misrepresentation in the process includes “failure to disclose collusion with employees of the state.”
On Tuesday 6 June 2023, Scorpio’s Pieter-Louis Myburgh reported that Durban businessman Roy Moodley, whose name has been embroiled in State Capture allegations, was linked to a company, Royal Security, that won a R282-million security contract from the Western Cape Department of Infrastructure.
‘A government practice’
Moodley founded Royal Security which his son Magesh now owns — Magesh said past allegations had nothing to do with the company.
Myburgh, however, quoted Western Cape Premier Alan Winde as saying he was “outraged at the possibility that the provincial government could be in a position of doing business with alleged profiteers of crime.”
Winde continued: “This is unacceptable and I will do everything in my power to end this practice.”
His use of the word “practice” could imply something habitual.
Indeed, it was not the first time Winde dealt with such issues.
Daily Maverick previously reported that in April 2023, Winde wrote to Western Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile about government contracts and possible criminality.
In that letter, Winde said he instructed infrastructure MEC Tertuis Simmers to “review all documentation related to possible concerns in connection with human settlements contracts that may link any and all individuals or companies alleged to be involved in criminal activity.”
Gang allegations and fears
This was in reference to matters surrounding Malusi Booi, who in March this year was fired from the post of mayoral committee member for human settlements after his office was raided as part of a fraud and corruption investigation.
Daily Maverick reported in April that police were investigating allegations including that Booi accepted cash from “notorious” underworld figures in exchange for information about housing tenders and had dodgy relationships with gangsters in the Cape Town suburb of Bishop Lavis, parts of which are known as 28s gang strongholds.
Last month Booi, who has not been criminally charged, told Daily Maverick’s Velani Ludidi that he feared for his life based “on allegations that do not exist.”
This is where the matter bleeds into gang suspicions.
According to a police application for a search warrant relating to Booi, electronic equipment was to be seized and scoured for keywords including the names of alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield and alleged Sexy Boys gang leader Jerome “Donkie” Booysen.
Another keyword to be searched for was “Glomix.”
Construction mafia concerns
Daily Maverick previously reported that the City of Cape Town was doing business with Glomix House Brokers — its director was Stanfield’s wife Nicole Johnson.
Both Johnson and Stanfield were part of a criminal case involving allegations relating to firearms and police corruption.
In 2019 already residents of the Cape Town suburb of Valhalla Park, where 28s gangsters operated, complained about Glomix’s operations relating to a tender.
But the City of Cape Town and Western Cape government seemed to view the company as being above board.
Glomix is now building 204 houses in Valhalla Park in a project expected to conclude next year.
That suburb has also been the scene of construction mafia-type crimes, involving threats targeting contractors.
28s gangsters, railway security and AK47s
Intimidation and extortion also boiled over onto sections of the Western Cape’s train tracks.
Last year Daily Maverick reported that gangsters, aligned to the 28s, were angry with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) over the awarding of security contracts or the allocation of jobs in the security sector.
They tried using intimidation and extortion to get what they wanted.
In August last year, a video showing two men armed with high-calibre firearms and shooting into the air from railway tracks in Bonteheuwel in Cape Town, also did the rounds.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Thugs ‘with AK-47s threaten us, take our children’s food’ – worker in Cape Town train line extortion saga
Daily Maverick understands that other videos linked to alleged intimidation tactics along Prasa tracks have been flagged with authorities.
It just so happens that issues relating to Prasa also loop back to Royal Security.
Daily Maverick understands Prasa was doing business with Royal Security years ago already, including in 2011.
However, irregularities were later picked up.
In 2019 the Mail & Guardian reported that: “A letter sent by Prasa to Royal Security reveals that the rail agency is terminating the long-time contracts because they were found to have been irregularly awarded.
“The letter, seen by the Mail & Guardian, notifies the company that its contract with Prasa will be terminated pending a new tender process.”
In the Western Cape, certain security problems, dating back to at least the 1990s, also extended from railways and construction sites to entertainment venues, putting private businesses and their patrons in danger.
Alleged organised crime kingpin Nafiz Modack was central to allegations that he used force to try and secure work relating to nightclub security, or bouncer activities, in Cape Town.
Read more in Daily Maverick: The Enforcers – Inside Cape Town’s Deadly Nightclub Battles
In 2020 Modack, along with four other men, were acquitted of extortion-related charges that linked to nightclub security.
The state had alleged Modack, who now faces an array of other criminal charges, and a group of men were hellbent on taking control of bouncer operations that were once headed by figures including Mark Lifman and Jerome Booysen, who are now both accused in another murder case.
Modack’s name is still tied up with security issues.
Nightclubs, violence and shootings
A 4 May 2023 Western Cape high court judgment against him, relating to an application in which he accused certain police officers of harassing him, said Modack had claimed he had (prior to his arrest in 2021) “lawfully been acting as a consultant to certain security businesses”.
However, the judgment pointed out that certain police officers had a very different view of him.
“Far from being singled out as alleged, [Modack] was, and is, just one of several parties involved in, or suspected to be involved in, the extortion and intimidation of businesses, particularly restaurants, pubs and nightclubs,” it said.
“This state of affairs has given rise to a spate of violence, including murders.”
In 2015, for example, Joe Kanyona, a doorman at a venue in Cape Town’s iconic Long Street, known for its nightlife, was murdered in a stabbing.
Two years later, in 2017. an individual was wounded in a shooting in a club on Cape Town’s Loop Street, which runs parallel to Long Street.
Several other incidents followed.
Ayepyep and a court order
In April 2021 suspicions emerged in Cape Town night venue circles that the Ayepyep Lifestyle Lounge in Cape Town, marketed as a luxury evening venue and restaurant, was the target of gangsters demanding protection money in exchange for providing it with “security.”
Daily Maverick recently reported that Ayepyep in Cape Town has also been the focus of recent court proceedings — these link back to Ralph Stanfield.
The venue is part of the Ayepyep Lifestyle brand created by Kagiso Setsetse and his business partner, DJ and producer Oupa John Sefoka, better known as DJ Sumbody, who was murdered in a shooting in Johannesburg in November 2022.
A Western Cape high court order, dated 28 April 2023, hinted that there were problems with the running of Ayepyep in Cape Town and that Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson were involved in its operations.
The court order did not accuse anyone of criminality.
It did, however, reference Johnson saying her “suspension” as general manager was lifted.
The court order also said that Setsetse and Stanfield “undertake not to contact each other indirectly or directly” and that Stanfield “undertakes not to attend the venue”.
This suggested tensions between the two.
Collusion — the common thread
Beneath elements of purported security and gangsterism, which branch out into many other crimes, are suspicions of state collusion.
This drags criminality, suspected or otherwise, from streets, construction sites and entertainment venues, into government offices.
And vice versa.
In October last year, in a Western Cape high court judgment, Judge Daniel Thulare said evidence in a gang-related case suggested members of the 28s gang had corrupted not only low-ranking police officers in the Western Cape, but also the management structure.
Members of the Western Cape police’s legal services department had then analysed the judgment against, in a sense, itself and colleagues.
Alan Winde had also instructed Western Cape police ombud Oswald Reddy, who is a retired policeman, to investigate the allegations.
The findings of the investigations have not yet been publicly divulged.
Of the 28s police infiltration judgment, Winde had said: “What is clear is that this infiltration likely extends far beyond this particular case, and also that dangerous forces are at play here.”
In the Roy Moodley and Royal Security saga, Winde has now also said he is “outraged at the possibility that the provincial government could be in a position of doing business with alleged profiteers of crime.” DM