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AGE OF THE ASSASSIN

Converging similarities emerge in Cape Town’s high-profile gang-linked killings

Converging similarities emerge in Cape Town’s high-profile gang-linked killings
Alleged gang boss Jerome Booysen. (Photo: Supplied) / Nafiz Modack in the High Court 5 May 2023. (Photo: Daily Maverick) / Mark Liftman, 9 February 2018. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Adrian de Kock)

A close examination of the indictments in the murders of steroid king Brian Wainstein and the Anti-Gang Unit’s Charl Kinnear reveals similarities and connections. They could be interpreted in some cases as a single combined indictment divided into two.

One obvious parallel in both indictments is that the main accused allegedly used gang members to carry out the hits.

In the respective indictments, it is alleged that:

  • Members of the 27s gang killed “steroid king” Brian Wainstein in 2017.
  • Members of the Junky Funky Kids allegedly tried to kill Lt-Col Charl Kinnear on five occasions in November 2019.
  • Members of the Terrible West Siders gang (TWS) tried to kill lawyer William Booth in April 2020.
  • In July 2019, a convicted TWS member shot and killed 74-year-old Nicolaas Heerschap in Melkbosstrand. Tow truck driver Richard Joseph was also shot dead.

The main accused in the Kinnear murder trial are alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack and former debt collector Zane Kilian. Along with their co-accused, they are facing 124 charges including murder, attempted murder, corruption, gangsterism, extortion, illegal interception of communications, money laundering and contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

Kinnear was shot and killed on 18 September 2020 outside his Bishop Lavis home.

Wainstein was shot dead on 18 August 2017 in his Constantia home, allegedly by members of the 27s gang, in front of his partner and two-year-old child.

The prosecution contends that Wainstein’s murder was financed by alleged crime boss Mark Lifman and that he and others benefitted from the illegal steroid business, which continued after Wainstein’s murder.

The main accused in this case are Lifman and alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen. The late William “Red” Stevens, said to be a 27s gang boss, was an accused but he was gunned down at his home in Kraaifontein in February 2021.

Read More in Daily Maverick: ‘Steroid King’ murder trial will lay bare the reign of terror by Cape Town’s underworld figures 

Lifman and Booysen, along with co-accused Andre Naude, Sam Farquharson, Egan Morgan, former police detective Wayne Henderson, Ricardo Maarman, Typhenne Jantjies, Bevan Ezaus, Bradley De Bula, Kashief Hanslo, Rowendal Stevens, Ismail Cupido and Russian national Igor Russol, are charged with 36 counts of murder, attempted murder, intimidation, gang activities, the illegal possession of ammunition and firearms, contravention of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, contributing towards gang activity and aiding and abetting criminal activities.

Let’s break down the similarities in the respective indictments.

Gang-related offences

Among the most glaring similarities are the charges under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act alleging that Lifman, Booysen and Modack, along with other gang members, formed a criminal network and used gang members to carry out their crimes.

In the Kinnear matter, the State contends that Modack and alleged members of the Junky Funky Kids gang, Amaal Jantjies and Janick Adonis, conspired on five occasions between October 2019 and November 2019 to kill Kinnear at his home in the Cape Town suburb of Bishop Lavis.

A third gang member, Fareez Smith, was arrested with a hand grenade in his possession in front of Kinnear’s home. He spilt the beans when he entered a plea and sentence agreement with the State in April 2022. Smith was sentenced to an effective five years in prison.

Charl Kinnear, Brian Wainstein

Left: Charl Kinnear was assassinated outside his home in Bishop Lavis, Cape Town. (Photo: Supplied) ‘Steroid King’ Brian Wainstein. (Photo: Interpol)

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Suspect takes plea deal and admits to grenade attempt on life of murdered cop Charl Kinnear”

Nafiz Modack’s alleged gang affiliations are linked to an attempt on William Booth’s life and the murder of Heerschap.

In the Western Cape High Court on 18 March 2024, the State’s first witness — a convicted TWS gang member serving 25 years in jail and who could only be referred to as “Mr A” to protect his identity — claimed that Modack ordered a hit on Nico Heerschap, a Hawks officer at the time, in July 2019.

Mr A also testified that Modack put up “a ransom of R3-million” to murder Booth and that he killed tow truck driver Richard Joseph on the orders of Modack.

In the Wainstein murder trial, a confessed 27s gang member — who was a former security guard for the “steroid king” and later sold steroids — has testified about his relationship with Wainstein and how he later met alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield, Booysen and Lifman.

According to papers, Booysen and Lifman allegedly actively participated in a criminal gang as well as willfully aided and abetted criminal activity committed for the benefit of the 27s gang.

The witness claimed to have been present when Booysen and Lifman allegedly agreed on the amount for Wainstein’s murder.

Following a plea and sentence agreement, the brother of the witness was sentenced to 20 years in prison in December 2018 for Wainstein’s murder.

His plea agreement also revealed the involvement of gangsters in the murder of the steroid king. He said that on the day of the murder, he met with other 27s gangsters and determined who would fire the fatal shots.

Three 27s members allegedly linked to the Wainstein murder have been killed so far. Police remain tight-lipped as to whether they were gunned down to silence them.

Read more in Daily Maverick: ‘Three accused in the murder of ‘steroid king’ Brian Wainstein have been killed – who’s next?’

Nightclub security war

The Wainstein murder indictment highlights the turf war for supremacy in nightclub security.

This reportedly dates back to 2016 when Lifman, Booysen and Naude, as well as Jerome Booysen’s brother, Colin, referred to themselves as the “brotherhood”. They established themselves as the dominant group in charge of nightclub and entertainment venue security — bouncer services — in Cape Town.

Trouble began on 20 May 2016 with an altercation at the Coco Bar between Colin Booysen and Kishor Naidoo, also known as Kamal, a member of the 27s gang who is wanted on an Interpol red notice.

Colin Booysen allegedly claimed that Naidoo brought the “Hollanders”, or 27s gang, to the club, including the now-deceased William “Red” Stevens, and blamed the fracas on his brother, Jerome.

On 27 November 2016, another violent incident occurred at Coco Bar, injuring two people and Colin Booysen’s bodyguard. The “brotherhood” feud persisted, with Colin Booysen accusing the others of stealing from him.

Naude was then tasked with negotiating Colin Booysen’s departure from the group, which was finalised in November of that year.

Simmering tensions flared up on 29 March 2017, when Lifman and Naude attended an auction at The Islands in Parow. Jerome Booysen allegedly expressed concern that his brother, Colin, was working for Modack.

The new group, led by Modack and Colin Booysen, then took over security at entertainment venues and clubs that were thought to be controlled by the rival group.

This put them on a collision course, resulting in the following incidents, among others:

  • Following The Islands incident and the new group’s takeover, Stevens is said to have called a meeting at his home. The state witness was present, as were other members of the 27s gang. The meeting discussed Lifman’s desire to take back control of security at the clubs. According to court documents, Stevens promised to provide enough 27s members to fill at least three to four taxis, as well as firearms. The group — some armed with firearms and wearing bulletproof vests — travelled in a convoy allegedly led by Jerome Booysen and Naude to Cubana in Green Point, the Coco Bar, Mavericks and Club 32 in Cape Town’s CBD, as well as the Grand Cafe at the Waterfront.
  • While at Mavericks, Jerome Booysen reportedly informed them that his brother, Colin, and Modack were on their way to Cape Town. An ambush was set up to kill them as they entered the city. However, the police turned up before Colin Booysen and Modack arrived.
  • Prior to the arrest of the state witness on 20 November 2017, he and his now-jailed brother allegedly met with Naude, Igor Russol and two other people, during which Lifman allegedly offered to fund the assassinations of Modack, Ashley Fields, Jacques Cronje, Emile Goodley, James Dalton, Colin Booysen and Carl Lakay.

Police corruption

In both the Wainstein and Kinnear cases, two police officers are among the accused and documents detail their alleged criminal activities.

In the Kinnear case, former Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) sergeant Ashley Tabisher is accused of receiving R10,000 from Modack. Tabisher allegedly informed co-accused Amaal Jantjies and Janick Adonis — who then informed Modack — of where and when AGU members were planning to raid Modack’s properties. They also provided information about the AGU’s investigations into him.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Alleged underworld figure Nafiz Modack accused of paying Anti-Gang Unit officer to leak information”

Police detective Wayne Henderson’s dealings in the Wainstein murder trial came to light when a witness testified that he beat up people as part of his debt-collecting duties for Lifman and Wainstein.

Henderson faces charges of conspiracy to defeat or obstruct the administration of justice, as well as corruption. This relates to an incident that occurred between 9 April and 24 August 2017.

He is accused of failing to collect a firearm to be examined for fingerprints despite a letter signed by the then-commanding officer, Charl Kinnear, requesting a print examination, as well as a request from the forensic science laboratory for him to collect the firearm.

Not guilty

Security is tight at the Western Cape High Court, with scores of heavily armed police in and outside the courts where the two cases are being heard. Entrances around the court have been cordoned off by traffic officers.

In Court 4, Lifman and Booysen, the main accused in the Wainstein murder case, have pleaded not guilty to all charges. They are appearing before Judge Vincent Saldanha.

In Court 1, Modack and Kilian, appearing before Judge Robert Henney, have pleaded not guilty to Kinnear’s murder and the attempted hit on Booth. Along with their 13 co-accused, they have pleaded not guilty to all other charges.

Both cases will resume on 13 May in the Western Cape High Court. DM

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