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PRIVATE (IN)SECURITY ANALYSIS

Two Cape Town shootings, one outside an upmarket restaurant, echo private security skirmishes of years past

Two Cape Town shootings, one outside an upmarket restaurant, echo private security skirmishes of years past
Illustrative image: (Photos: Flicker | Wikipedia | EPA-EFE / Dan Himbrechts)

A man was recently wounded in a shooting outside a Cape Town restaurant where a murder had previously occurred and, in another incident, shots were fired at a private security vehicle. The shootings are reminiscent of earlier times when bouncer battles surged in the city.

On Monday 28 August, a security company vehicle was shot at in the Cape Town suburb of Sea Point.

Ten days later, a man was wounded in a shooting outside the Grand Africa Café & Beach in Cape Town’s Granger Bay – the same location where a gunman was shot dead and a security officer wounded in October last year.

The venue had previously cropped up in an extortion case based on allegations that a certain group was trying to dominate private security operations in Cape Town and was targeting rivals in the industry.

Helmeted gunman killed

After the October 2022 shootout, the venue released a statement saying: “A suspicious individual wearing a helmet entered the parking lot of Grand Africa Café & Beach…

“Security personnel asked the individual to please remove his helmet. As an unprovoked response, the suspect shot at the security officer, injuring him. Our security function is outsourced.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Helmeted gunman killed, security guard wounded in Cape Town restaurant shootout

A security team, the statement said, was “forced to return fire in self-defence as the perpetrator continued to discharge his weapon after wounding the security officer.”

The statement added: “We have been informed by [the South African Police Service] that similar incidents have occurred at other venues across the city.”

‘Shot in the chest’

Asked whether there had been another shooting outside the Grand on 7 September 2023, Western Cape police spokesperson Sergeant Wesley Twigg said that cops at the Table Bay station were investigating an attempted murder case after a 59-year-old man was wounded.

The investigation, he said, followed “a shooting at a restaurant”.

Daily Maverick understands the wounded man may have been a car guard.

“Police members were called to the crime scene where they found the victim with a gunshot wound to his chest,” Twigg said.

“He was taken to a medical facility for treatment. The suspect/s fled the scene and are yet to be arrested. The motive for the shooting is unknown.”

Daily Maverick contacted a company that previously dealt with a media query on behalf of the Grand Africa Café & Beach and was told it had no comment about the 7 September incident.

It is not clear if the shooting 10 days earlier was connected.

Bullets fired at security car 

Twigg confirmed that Sea Point police were investigating an attempted murder case following a shooting in Worcester Road at 9.55pm on 28 August. 

“According to reports, a security vehicle was parked on the pavement when unknown suspect/s shot at the vehicle. No injuries or death of a person was reported,” Twigg said.

“The suspect/s fled the scene and are yet to be arrested.”

A lawyer for the private security company whose vehicle was targeted confirmed the incident.

The name of the security company is known to Daily Maverick, however, for safety reasons, an editorial decision was made not to divulge it.

While it is not clear what is behind the two recent shootings, there have been previous incidents relating to private security in Cape Town.

Bouncer control backdrop

Problems were first flagged in the 1990s when Cyril Beeka, a rumoured apartheid state operative, ran a security outfit in Cape Town, which some police officers maintained was an extortion racket linked to the Italian mafia.

After Beeka was assassinated in Cape Town in 2011, bouncer operations in the city reconfigured.

People like Mark Lifman, Jerome “Donkie” Booysen and Andre Naude, who have since been arrested in a murder plot case, were among those who became prominent in this arena.

Read more in Daily Maverick: The Enforcers – Inside Cape Town’s Deadly Nightclub Battles

In 2017, suspected organised crime kingpin Nafiz Modack, who knew Beeka, allegedly tried to seize control of bouncer operations in the city.

Modack and four other men were arrested in December 2017.

They were accused of using intimidatory tactics and extortion to secure a security contract at the Grand Africa Café & Beach.

Three years after being arrested in the extortion case, the Modack group was acquitted and reportedly celebrated — at the Grand Africa Café & Beach.

Modack was subsequently rearrested in 2021 and faces several criminal charges, including for the September 2020 assassination of detective Charl Kinnear who had been investigating suspects, including Modack himself.

‘Violence including murders’

A May 2023 Western Cape High Court judgment, also linked to Modack, contained details about the private security situation in Cape Town.

The judgment related to an application in which Modack claimed he had (before his arrest) “lawfully been acting as a consultant to certain security businesses”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Ayepyep to State Capture – the Western Cape’s chronically converging gang and ‘security’ problems

However, it was 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,” the judgment said.

“This state of affairs has given rise to a spate of violence, including murders.”

Jeremy Vearey, in his previous capacity as a senior police investigator who investigated Modack, once said it was important to crack down on violence associated with organised crime, especially around the festive season, because “we want people to be able to [go out] without having bullets fly over their shoulders”.

Ayepyep extortion spat

Meanwhile, issues relating to private security recently surfaced in another matter – one involving the Ayepyep Lifestyle Lounge in Cape Town.

The venue was closed in August following accusations by former co-owner Kagiso Setsetse that alleged 28s gang boss, Ralph Stanfield and his wife, Nicole Johnson, were trying to dominate it.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Fear, violence and extortion in Cape Town — luxury venue Ayepyep closes amid claims of gangsterism and threats

Johnson was the venue’s general manager and she and Stanfield, who was wounded in a shooting in Johannesburg in 2017 when Cape Town nightclub security problems emerged, were involved in operating the business.

Among the accusations Setsetse made, and which Stanfield countered with claims of his own, was that Stanfield was involved in dealing with security at Ayepyep Cape Town.

Gangster claim and legal settlement

Another was that after the venue opened in 2021, “Approximately 10 gangsters stormed into the premises, terrorised customers, throwing things off the tables and conducting themselves in an extremely threatening manner.”

Ayepyep Cape Town reopened last week when a legal settlement saw Setsetse sell his one-third stake in the business.

This deal resulted in half the business going to Stanfield’s mother-in-law, Barbara Johnson. The other half is now owned by Ayepyep co-founder Oupa Sefoka’s family.

Sefoka, also known as DJ Sumbody, was murdered in a shooting in Johannesburg in November 2022. DM

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