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SAPS big guns descend on Cape Town court for case involving alleged 28s boss Ralph Stanfield

SAPS big guns descend on Cape Town court for case involving alleged 28s boss Ralph Stanfield
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)

National police commissioner Fannie Masemola and Police Minister Bheki Cele were among the many cops present in a Cape Town court when alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield, his wife Nicole Johnson and two others appeared there on various charges.

Alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson are expected to remain in custody for at least another week after they appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court following their arrests a few days ago.

The case against them, based on two others they have been charged with, is starting to suggest links between previous matters involving illegal firearm issues and a gang connected to the 28s, dating back several years.

It also reflects rather poorly on the City of Cape Town which has been involved in business with Johnson.

Stanfield and Johnson were detained in their home in the upmarket Cape Town suburb of Constantia on Friday 29 September 2023.

Ralph Stanfield, police

There was a heavy police presence at the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court where Ralph Stanfield appeared for Ayepyep extortion spat, on 2 October 2023. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

Four accused

They appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday 2 October along with two other accused, Denver Booysen and Johannes Abrahams.

Booysen and Abrahams were arrested the day after Stanfield and Johnson were taken into custody.

They are trying to be released from state custody on bail, but it is expected they will be kept behind bars at least until their next court appearance on 9 October 2023.

Together, the group faces charges including motor vehicle theft, assault, robbery and fraud.

Stanfield also faces an illegal firearm possession charge.

Heavy cop presence

National police commissioner Fannie Masemola and Police Minister Bheki Cele who arrived with eight police officers as apparent security, sat in the courtroom watching the four as they made their way into the dock.

(Cele later on Monday 2 October planned to visit the families of police officers murdered in Cape Town.)

Bheki Cele

Minister of Police Bheki Cele arrives at the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court where Ralph Stanfield appeared, on 2 October 2023. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

There were several more police officers stationed outside the court building.

During court proceedings, which photographers were not allowed to capture, the legal representative for the accused, Ross McKernan, said Stanfield had no previous convictions. 

“There are no pending warrants of arrests. He was given R50,000 bail in 2014 and he has been appearing in and out of court for 29 months (since 2017) till now.” 

As for Johnson, McKernan said she also had no previous convictions and, like Stanfield, was also once detained in a 2014 case.

 Ralph Stanfield, Nicole Johnson

File photo: Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson are seen at the Cape Town Regional Court on 16 September 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais)

Health concerns

McKennan said Johnson was recently admitted to a Cape Town hospital and was discharged a day before her arrest.

Without detailing her health issues, he said she was recovering and, together with the fact she was the mother of two children, aged 15 and 17 years, her condition needed to be taken into account.

Johnson was remanded to the hospital section of Pollsmoor prison.

McKennan said that Booysen handed himself over to the police on Saturday 30 September 2023.

He added that Abrahams “has no previous convictions [and] he is also on warning pending the current matter.”

Eric Ntabazalila

NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila speaks to media after Ralph Stanfield appeared at the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on 2 October 2023. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

Throwback to The Firm

Coincidentally, Johannes Abrahams was the name of a bodyguard to Stanfield’s uncle Colin Stanfield.

Stanfield, who died in 2004, headed up the gang conglomerate The Firm, which has a strong 28s membership.

Johannes Abrahams and Colin Stanfield together once faced a murder charge relating to a killing that happened in the Cape Town suburb of Valhalla Park in 1995.

Parts of Valhalla Park are known as strongholds of the 28s gang.

City of Cape Town and criminal accused

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 recently also reported that the City of Cape Town was doing business with Glomix House Brokers.

This is where Valhalla Park again crops up.

Glomix, whose director is Johnson, is building 204 houses in Valhalla Park in a project expected to conclude next year.

This now means the City of Cape Town is reliant on a company, Glomix, linked to an accused, Johson, who faces charges in two different court cases.

The second case Johnson is an accused in relates to gun licences and involves Stanfield and others.

‘Reunited’ via criminal charges

All four accused who appeared together in court on Monday — or their names, at least — have previously been referenced in another case relating to allegations of fraudulent firearms and police corruption.

That case stems from 2014 and was likely what McKernan was referring to when he said Stanfield and Johnson faced legal issues stemming from then.

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

The provisional charge sheet in that matter lists 23 accused including Stanfield, Johnson, Abrahams and Booysen. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Unlicensed to kill: police corruption, inefficiencies and outdated systems hobble SA gun control

The case is based on allegations that three (now former) police officers linked to the Central Firearm Registry — Priscilla Mangyani, Billy April and Mary Cartwright — handed gun licences to Stanfield and others who had no legal right to such paperwork.

It is expected to resume in the Khayelitsha Priority Crimes Court in December.

Arms cache discovery

Meanwhile, the name Johannes Abrahams has previously surfaced in a third case.

In that case, one Johannes Abrahams (it was not immediately clear if it is the same one who appeared in court with Stanfield on Monday) was reportedly among those arrested in connection with an arms cache discovered in Valhalla Park in October 2016.


At the time, the South African Police Service had said: “Over 250 firearms, ammunition and an undisclosed amount of cash have already been seized and are being processed. Four individuals have been arrested…

“We are confident that this cache will assist us in clamping down on the scourge of gangsterism and in reducing the stubborn contact crime trends which affect our communities, such as murder and vehicle hijacking.”

It is not clear what came of that case.

Ayepyep and dodgy dealing allegations 

Stanfield and Johnson recently faced other problems.

Daily Maverick reported extensively on that saga that revolved around involving the Ayepyep Lifestyle Lounge in Cape Town, a venue located on Kloof Street in the city.

In June 2023 its former co-owner Kagiso Setsetse lodged a criminal complaint with police about Ayepyep Cape Town as he alleged Stanfield, involved in providing it with security, and Johnson, its general manager, were trying to dominate it.

The venue closed in August as Setsetse’s allegations ramped up.

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

It reopened again late in September when a legal settlement saw Setsetse sell his one-third of shares in the business.

The deal resulted in half the business belonging to Ayepyep co-founder Oupa Sefoka’s family.

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

The other half is owned by Johsnon’s mother (and Stanfield’s mother-in-law), Barbara Johnson. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Shaun Slayer says:

    Ok, I don’t mean to throw out the applecart here but being an “alleged leader” of the 28’s gang makes no sense, you cannot be straight, and he is married to a woman so yea.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Perhaps the “big guns” were just there to ensure the accused didn’t implicate them?

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


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