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Almost a decade after initial arrest, gun crime suspicions continue haunting Ralph Stanfield

Almost a decade after initial arrest, gun crime suspicions continue haunting Ralph Stanfield
Alleged 28s gang leader Ralph Stanfield and his wife, Nicole, outside Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on 17 August, 2021. (Photo: (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger)

Alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson were arrested on several criminal charges on Friday 29 September, 2023. Journalist Caryn Dolley’s book ‘To the Wolves’ details other cop corruption accusations linked to the pair.

Nine years after they were initially detained in a fraudulent firearm licence case, alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson have been charged with more crimes.

They were detained on Friday 29 September, 2023 in the upmarket Cape Town suburb of Constantia.

Stanfield, Johnson and two other suspects appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday 2 October, 2023.

The case was postponed for a week.

Accusations against them include motor vehicle theft, assault and robbery.

Western Cape police said the arrested man, who they did not name but who is understood to be Stanfield, was also charged with possession of an unlicenced firearm.

It is not the first time he has faced a gun-related charge.

Journalist Caryn Dolley’s book, To The Wolves: How Traitor Cops Crafted South Africa’s Underworld, details suspicions of collusion between police, politicians and criminal suspects — Stanfield included.

Here we include an extract from the book.


A splinter case which developed from the main guns-to-gangs Project Impi saga involved suspected 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield, a nephew of suspected drug lord Colin Stanfield (who died of cancer back in 2004). 

Ralph Stanfield is a thickset man with a stoic expression. He often wears a bulletproof vest and on occasions when he has appeared in court, several men — apparently supporters or bodyguards — lingered outside the buildings. 

Unlike some of his crime-suspect contemporaries, he rarely, if ever, speaks to reporters on (possibly also off) record, adding a layer of mystique to his activities. 

Ralph Stanfield was arrested in 2014 along with his wife Nicole, sister Francisca, and three Central Firearm Registry police officers — Priscilla Mangyani, Billy April and Mary Cartwright — who were alleged to have worked with him to provide firearm licences, the paperwork needed to access guns. 

Their workplace, the firearm registry, is the centre in Gauteng where firearms-related paperwork is officiated and dealt with. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Bheki Cele in the firing line of critical class action against police over the smuggling of guns to gangsters

Much like it had done with his uncle, the state viewed the younger Stanfield as a criminal, suggesting that Ralph Stanfield was a powerful member of the 28s gang. 

“The 28 gang is a criminal organisation whose members and associates engaged in acts of violence, including murder, attempted murder, assault, theft, possession of stolen goods, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition, malicious damage to property, witness intimidation and drug trafficking,” the state alleged. 

“The gang earned money for their members and regularly financed their activities through funds obtained in the illegal trafficking of drugs, including the possession and distribution of heroin, tik (methamphetamine), mandrax (methaqualone) and cannabis.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: 28s gang ‘capture’ top Western Cape cops, prosecutors’ lives at risk – judge sounds corruption alarm

There were other sinister allegations that Stanfield had accessed firearms via nefarious means and these tied into his 2014 arrest. 

Stanfield had applied for competency certificates and firearm licences from the Mitchells Plain police station back in April 2000. 

He did so again twice in 2002 and then again in 2006. All his applications were refused.

After failing to secure firearm licences via the Mitchells Plain police station, Stanfield, despite not being a resident anywhere near there, allegedly turned to a police station in a small Gauteng town, Oliefantsfontein, between Kempton Park and Pretoria, where he applied for these licences. 

This time luck appeared to be on his side — he was granted a firearm licence.

Other members of his family allegedly did the same, even though they too were not from anywhere near the town of Olifantsfontein. 

But all may not have been above board and this is what really piqued the interest of police investigators. 

“The reason [Stanfield and associates] approached the Olifantsfontein SAPS, is because a member of the SAPS stationed there … was prepared to assist them unlawfully,” the state alleged.

The case around Stanfield and co involved suspicions about the paperwork they had been provided with to procure firearms. 

Getting a firearm or related licence is no quick walk in a pleasant park. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Want an illegal gun in Western Cape? Not a problem

It is intentionally designed to be a rigorous process that involves having to undergo practical scrutiny to see if an applicant is indeed fit to possess a gun. 

Police investigators, however, suspected that in the case involving Stanfield, cops had effectively accepted bribes to create licences on the official police system, despite all the checks and balances meant to have been completed by an applicant not having been carried out. 

In short, it was suspected licences appeared to be totally above board at first glance given that these were officially created on authentic police systems, but that the legwork that went into procuring the licences was flawed. 

For example, Stanfield was allegedly fraudulently provided with a proficiency certificate. 

“The proficiency certificate issued to [Stanfield], was issued without him ever attending any training.” DM

Caryn Dolley has spent years tracing the footprints of crime/drug kingpins from across the world. In her latest book, Clash of the Cartels, Dolley provides unprecedented insight into how specific drug cartels and syndicates have operated via South Africa, becoming embroiled in deadly violence in the country and bolstering local criminal networks. Available now from the Daily Maverick Shop.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    Where is mr Kieswetter and his squad on the property in Constantia?

  • David Mitchley says:

    Surely a case like this calls for a lifestyle audit. Lives in Upper Class Constantia, but does have job or own a business, doesn’t pay tax, probably not even a registered taxpayer. Surely making a case against this guy can’t be that hard for a half decent detective.

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