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Petrol price proves ‘lies’ told in the case involving alleged gangster Ralph Stanfield and wife Nicole Johnson

Petrol price proves ‘lies’ told in the case involving alleged gangster Ralph Stanfield and wife Nicole Johnson
Illustrative image: Nicole and Ralph Stanfield (Photos: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais | Rawpixel)

Alleged 28s boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson co-own a petrol station in Cape Town. Johnson claimed that as she had been detained since her recent arrest, she could not adjust the petrol price there – but police say they found otherwise.

Police are using a change in the petrol price to try to prove officers were lied to in the case against Ralph Stanfield and his wife Nicole Johnson.

The two face several charges along with Denver Booysen, Johannes Abrahams and Jose Brandt, also known as “Makop”.

All five are in custody and expected back in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, 17 October.

Accusations against the group include car theft, robbery, attempted murder and fraud.

‘Dishonesty offences’

Johnson has not been charged with any crime of violence but, according to police, faces “dishonesty offences”.

Both she and Stanfield have denied the accusations against them.

The group appeared in court on Wednesday. During bail application proceedings, several startling allegations were made against Stanfield.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘I want to empty a gun in his head’ – chilling affidavit about alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield’s ‘plans’

These included that he allegedly told associates he wanted them to find a complainant in a case against him because he wanted to shoot the man.

The allegations were contained in an affidavit by the investigating officer, Lieutenant Colonel Christiaan van Renen, that was read out during Wednesday’s court proceedings.

A section of it focused on Johnson.

She was arrested with Stanfield at their home in an upmarket suburb of Cape Town on 29 September 2023.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Alleged 28s boss Ralph Stanfield and his wife arrested in Cape Town crackdown following Ayepyep extortion spat

According to Van Renen’s affidavit, Johnson and Stanfield co-own the MBT garage in the Cape Town suburb of Bishop Lavis.

Petrol price increase

Van Renen’s affidavit continued: “The petrol price is regulated by government and is adjusted on the first Wednesday of every month; therefore every petrol station has to sell petrol at a fixed government-determined price.”

Five days after Johnson and Stanfield’s arrests, the petrol price went up on 4 October 2023.

Johnson and her co-accused appeared in court on Monday 9 October, where her affidavit was read out.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Suspected 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield’s legal woes intensify after attempted murder charge heard in court

Johnson claimed in her affidavit that she was “the only person in the business that can change the price of the fuel at the fuel pumps” at MBT.

She also claimed that because she was in custody, this had not happened.

Police decided to check if this was indeed the case.

Photographed during follow-up

According to Van Renen’s affidavit, during a court lunch break on 9 October – the same day Johnson’s claims were heard about being unable to change the price at the MBT fuel pumps – a police sergeant visited the garage.

The sergeant took a photograph of a display board there – it showed the latest petrol price of R24.96 and not the previous price of R23.82.

“Aside from the photograph taken as proof that the pumps had been changed, [the sergeant] too had tasked an informant to go and fill up his motor vehicle with R200 worth of petrol, which the informant did,” Van Renen’s affidavit said.

It added that a petrol attendant handed the informant a receipt reflecting the informant purchased R200 petrol at the price of R24.96 per litre on 9 October 2023.

stanfield trial

A police informant received a receipt after buying petrol at the MBT garage in the Cape Town suburb of Bishop Lavis. (Photo: Supplied)

‘Shock closure’

“This therefore clearly means that while [Johnson] was in custody, the petrol price at the fuel pumps had been changed,” the affidavit said.

When the sergeant returned to court, he provided that evidence to the prosecutor who then asked for the case to be postponed “to investigate the allegations that [Johnson] had possibly misled the court regarding the issue of being the only person capable of changing the petrol price at MBT, Bishop Lavis.”

The postponement was granted.

“After the court had granted the postponement, I and other police officers started planning to visit MBT, Bishop Lavis, in order to conduct the said investigation,” Van Reenen’s affidavit said.

“Prior to our departure to MBT… we received a phone call from an informant advising us that the petrol station had been closed for business.

“This came as a shock to us as MBT was clearly open and operated during the lunch adjournment on 9 October 2023, yet after the prosecutor placed it on record in court that we are investigating the allegations regarding MBT, Bishop Lavis, it was all of a sudden closed and we were unable to conduct our investigation.”

Concealing truth claim

Van Renen also alleged in his affidavit: “This decision to close the petrol station knowing that members of SAPS were on their way to conduct an investigation there was done only for the purpose of obstructing the investigation and concealing the truth from being exposed.”

He said it was unfortunate for Stanfield and Johnson that they were unaware of “the photographs and a receipt slip” that police obtained during the court lunch break.

Meanwhile, Johnson and Stanfield are also facing charges in a separate case based on allegations that three (now former) police officers linked to the Central Firearms RegisterPriscilla Mangyani, Billy April and Mary Cartwright – gave gun licences to Stanfield and others who had no legal right to this documentation.

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

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