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Suspected crime isn’t paying — Nicole Johnson’s business problems tied to 28s-linked case

Suspected crime isn’t paying — Nicole Johnson’s business problems tied to 28s-linked case
Illustrative image: Nicole Johnson after appearing in the Khayelitsha Regional Court in Cape Town on 1 November 2019. (Photo: Nasief Manie / Gallo Images) | Graphic: Vecteezy

Several of her businesses have been blacklisted and, in certain instances, taken away. Now, in the latest in a series of setbacks, Nicole Johnson, who is facing criminal charges alongside her husband, alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield, has again failed in a bid for bail.

Cape Town’s municipality has blacklisted several of her businesses, while the national government has blocked one.

Her ties to the two salons she was running have also been severed.

And some discrepancies were picked up in terms of her links to two other ventures.

On top of all that, Nicole Johnson has been called a liar – and she has again failed in an attempt to be released from custody on bail.

‘Doesn’t hesitate to lie’

“A holistic analysis of the evidence portrays Johnson as a person who does what she needs to even if this means being deceptive and taking the law into her own hands,” a Western Cape High Court judgment against her, handed down on 13 May 2024, says.

“She does not hesitate to lie and give false evidence, if she thinks it will benefit her. 

“Such a person does not respect the legal system and would not hesitate to undermine the criminal justice system, including the bail system.”

Johnson is the wife of alleged 28s and The Firm gang boss Ralph Stanfield.

They have been behind bars since they were arrested in their home in the elite Cape Town suburb of Constantia in September 2023.

They face charges relating to a vehicle theft, and in Stanfield’s case, of attempted murder.

That matter, which involves three other accused, is expected to resume in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court next month.

Failed bail attempts

Johnson, meanwhile, has faced several problems relating to her work while in custody.

She was initially denied bail in October 2023 and subsequently launched another application based on “new facts”.

That second application was turned down in January.

Johnson appealed both those decisions and that culminated in this month’s high court judgment which found she should not be released from custody.

The judgment, together with matters happening parallel to court processes, hint at the work drama Johnson faces.

It also shows how she previously considered applying for business residency in Dubai.

Dubai work plans

“She did not disclose this information, even though she deemed it appropriate to disclose that she had years ago considered relocating to Gauteng,” the judgment said.

“Even though nothing came from this, she had been in contact with a person who would have assisted with the residency applications as recently as 27 March 2023.  

“This contact could have provided her with the means of applying for residency in Dubai, if needed.”

The judgment said there was therefore “a likelihood that [Johnson] could attempt to evade her trial” if she was released on bail.

‘I don’t trust anyone’

It said that in an affidavit relating to her first bail application, Johnson had stated: “I am the senior person in all my businesses and solely responsible for the day-to-day running of the businesses.  

“I do not trust anyone to run the businesses and have not as a result empowered anyone to be able to run the businesses. Without me the businesses will fail.”

It previously emerged during proceedings in the magistrates’ court that Johnson ran two beauty stores, named Sorbet. One was in the Cape Town suburb of Green Point and the other in the city’s Canal Walk shopping mall.

According to the high court judgment from earlier this month, Johnson, during the first bail application, had testified that her “Sorbet franchise stores are going down and that the manager who was appointed was stealing”.

Sorbet severs ties

“Johnson was also informed that Sorbet Man (Pty) Ltd was cancelling the franchise agreements with her in respect of her two stores,” the judgment said.

The agreement cancellations were because she had breached a clause in that she had been absent – presumably because she was in custody – from the business for longer than 30 days.

Johnson has faced several other business-related problems while in custody.

Daily Maverick previously reported that in December 2023 the City of Cape Town confirmed it had blacklisted seven companies linked to her “based on the risk they pose to the city’s reputation”.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Risky business — City of Cape Town blacklists companies linked to 28s gang case accused Nicole Johnson

Ahead of that, Johnson’s company, Glomix House Brokers, had been involved in housing projects in Cape Town, worth millions of rands, for more than a decade.

National blacklisting

Johnson was saddled with even more business problems earlier this year.

Treasury blacklisted Glomix for a decade from 28 March, meaning the company would not be able to do work with the national government for that period.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Glomix ban — Treasury blacklists 28s gang case accused Nicole Johnson’s company for 10 years

The high court judgment handed down this month also detailed how other business operations have counted against Johnson.

It previously emerged during court proceedings that, according to the case’s investigating officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Christiaan van Renen, Johnson and Stanfield co-owned the MBT garage in the Cape Town suburb of Bishop Lavis.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Petrol price proves ‘lies’ told in the case involving alleged gangster Ralph Stanfield and wife Nicole Johnson

In an affidavit of her own, Johnson had asserted: “I am the only person in the business that can change the price of fuel at the fuel pumps.”

However, according to the high court judgment: “This statement was proven to be false by the evidence presented by the State showing that the fuel price had indeed been changed at the fuel pumps after Johnson was arrested and detained.”

Ayepyep issues

The high court judgment also said Johnson had previously not played open cards about her income from the Ayepyep Lifestyle Lounge, a venue in Cape Town’s city centre where she was the general manager, where she earned about R70,000 per month.

“Johnson’s evidence on this aspect was very confusing, intentionally so, in my view to muddy the waters,” the high court judgment said.

Daily Maverick reported extensively on previous controversies surrounding Ayepyep Cape Town.

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

A former owner of the venue, Kagiso Setsetse, made accusations in 2023 that Stanfield and Johnson were trying to dominate it.

Stanfield had made counteraccusations.

In September 2023, just days before Stanfield and Johnson were arrested in the case in which she failed to get bail, it emerged that a settlement had been reached with Setsetse over Ayepyep Cape Town.

Mother and brother arrested

The settlement saw Setsetse selling his shares and Johnson’s mother Barbara owning 50% of the business. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Nearly R5-million cash, luxury watches seized as 28s gang boss accused Ralph Stanfield’s brother arrested

Earlier this month, Barbara Johnson was among three suspects arrested in a case linked to the Stanfield and Johnson matters.

She appeared in a Cape Town court along with her two co-accused, as well as one of Stanfield’s brothers, Kyle. He was arrested a short while before Barbara Johnson and was charged with defeating the ends of justice.

Unlike Johnson, the accused in that case, including her mother and Kyle Stanfield, were granted bail of R10,000 each. DM

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R35.

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  • Rae Earl says:

    Cape Town has been crawling with gangsters and crooks for years. If the ANC had to take over with a coalition partner all the Vaalies and KZN business people now living there would have to come back home. Cape Town would collapse under ANC rule even quicker than Pretoria, JHB or Durban. Vote DA or die.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    The untouchables were not so untouchable it seems

  • Wow. It doesn’t look good for her.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    It’s a pity the state can’t embark on a Stalingrad prosecution and appeal everything all the way to the Constitutional Court for a few decades whilst she stays behind bars. Ditto for her husband.

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