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Alleged 28s boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife arrested in Cape Town crackdown following Ayepyep extortion spat

Alleged 28s boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife arrested in Cape Town crackdown following Ayepyep extortion spat
Alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson leave a Cape Town court on 16 September 2023 where they appeared on charges related to the illegal acquisition of firearms licences. Stanfield and Johnson were arrested on Friday, 29 September, and appeared in court on Monday, 2 October. (Photo: Jaco Marais / Die Burger / Gallo Images)

Gang accused Ralph Stanfield, along with his wife Nicole Johnson, has been arrested in Cape Town. This comes after their names cropped up in an extortion and intimidation spat linked to a city venue that closed temporarily over the saga.

Alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson, whose names recently surfaced in gang and extortion accusations, have been arrested.

They were detained in Cape Town on Friday, 29 September 2023.

It is not the first time they have been taken into custody.

Mounting accusations

Nine years ago, they were arrested in an ongoing firearms case involving allegedly corrupt police officers.

Earlier this year Stanfield’s name also cropped up in an investigation relating to corruption and the City of Cape Town.

On Friday, asked to confirm that Stanfield and Johnson had been arrested, Western Cape police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi told Daily Maverick that a man and woman, who he did not name, had been detained. 

“This office can confirm that visible policing members and detectives attached to the Western Cape Anti-Gang unit arrested and detained a male aged 44 and a female aged 36 earlier today, Friday 29 September 2023,” he said.

Based on information from previous court papers against the accused including the duo, Daily Maverick has established that Stanfield’s age is 44 and Johnson is turning 36 this year.

 Swartbooi said once charged, the man and woman would appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court for “theft of motor vehicle, assault common, robbery common and fraud.” 

He added that the 44-year-old man “will also answer on a charge of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition as he was found to be in possession of a firearm without a valid license at the time of his arrest.”

Four different sources, with links to policing, told Daily Maverick on Friday that Stanfield and Johnson had been arrested.

It was not clear if they remained in custody on Friday night.

In a brief call on Friday afternoon, a lawyer apparently representing them told Daily Maverick he would return the call. 

This had not happened by late evening. His comment will be included once received.

Stanfield has previously been in the news for other reasons.

He was wounded in a shooting in Johannesburg in 2017, the year when violence, allegedly linked to a battle to dominate private security, surged in Cape Town.

Ayepyep and extortion

Daily Maverick has recently reported on how Stanfield and Johnson were named in a spat involving the Ayepyep Lifestyle Lounge in Cape Town.

The venue was closed in August following accusations by former co-owner Kagiso Setsetse that Stanfield and Johnson, its general manager, 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

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.

Setsetse, in an affidavit to police, also alleged the venue was targeted just after it opened in 2021.

‘Gangsters terrorised customers’

“Approximately 10 gangsters stormed into the premises, terrorised customers, throwing things off the tables and conducting themselves in an extremely threatening manner,” his affidavit said.

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

The deal means one half of the business belongs to Stanfield’s mother-in-law, Barbara Johnson, and the other half is now owned by the family of Ayepyep co-founder Oupa Sefoka.

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

Cop corruption suspicions and guns

In June 2014, Stanfield and Johnson were arrested in connection with fraudulent gun licences.

They were arrested with Stanfield’s sister Francisca and three (now former) police officers linked to the Central Firearm Registry – Priscilla Mangyani, Billy April and Mary Cartwright. 

It was alleged that the cops had fraudulently created firearm licences for suspects, including Stanfield and others, who did not follow the legal procedures entitling them to such documents.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Police are still arming criminals, despite ‘plans’ to stop the scourge

The case against Stanfield and co was subsequently withdrawn, but later reinstated.

A Supreme Court of Appeal judgment, dated December 2019 and relating to the Stanfield matter and the seizure of firearms, hinted at broader suspected South African Police Service (SAPS) involvement.

The judgment said: “[The case] was complicated by the number of suspects in different provinces and the suspected involvement of present and past members of the SAPS.”

The Stanfield and Johnson firearm licences case, which involves more than a dozen accused, is expected to resume in the Khayelitsha Priority Crimes Court in December 2023.

Business with City of Cape Town

Earlier this year Daily Maverick reported that Stanfield’s name cropped up in an investigation relating to Malusi Booi, who in March was fired from the post of mayoral committee member for human settlements after his City of Cape Town office was raided as part of a fraud and corruption investigation.

Read more in Daily Maverick: SAPS investigating allegations Cape Town Mayco member Malusi Booi ‘took cash from gangsters’

Daily Maverick also reported that the City of Cape Town was doing business with Glomix House Brokers, of which Johnson is the director.

Glomix was building 204 houses in the Cape Town suburb of Valhalla Park in a project expected to conclude next year.

Back in 2019, residents of Valhalla Park, where 28s gangsters operated, were already complaining about Glomix’s operations relating to a tender.

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

An unrelated Western Cape High Court murder case judgment from the following year, 2020, stated: “The [28s] gang has a number of leaders, including the Stanfield family who control the 28s in the Valhalla Park area.”

Two recent shootings

Meanwhile, Daily Maverick reported earlier on Friday, 29 September, before news emerged of the arrest of Stanfield and Johnson, that two recent shootings in Cape Town were reminiscent of earlier times when bouncer battles surged in the city.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Two Cape Town shootings, one outside an upmarket restaurant, echo private security skirmishes of years past

On 7 September, a man was wounded in a shooting outside the Grand Africa Café & Beach in Cape Town’s Granger Bay – where a gunman was shot dead and a security officer wounded in October last year.

Ten days earlier, on 28 August, a security company vehicle was shot at in the Cape Town suburb of Sea Point.

The Grand Africa Café & Beach 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.

Cop’s assassination

At the centre of that case was suspected organised crime kingpin Nafiz Modack.

In December 2017 he and four other men were arrested for allegedly using intimidation 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 and now faces various criminal charges, including in connection with the September 2020 assassination of detective Charl Kinnear.

Kinnear testified about Stanfield

Kinnear had been investigating various suspects, including some of his police colleagues and Modack.

Just three days before Kinnear was murdered outside his Bishop Lavis home in Cape Town, a suburb of which parts are strongholds of the 28s gang, two men were found guilty in a murder case in which Kinnear had testified.

A Western Cape High Court judgment, dated 15 September 2020, in that case said: “The last witness testifying for the State was the investigating officer, Col Kinnear… 

“[Kinnear] is familiar with the gangsterism in the area and testified that the predominant ruling gang is the 28s under the leadership of Ralph Stanfield.” DM


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