CAPE TOWN – Armed police officers, from various branches including the special task force and national investigating unit from Johannesburg, have clamped down on popular Long Street in the city centre, combing through clubs and effectively blocking off the area, in a crackdown on an intensifying underworld battle for control over the lucrative bouncer industry.
Helicopters were also used in the massive operation which started late on Friday and carried on until the early hours of Saturday.
Police were yet to officially comment on the clampdown, but News24 understands it included public order police officers, units from Stellenbosch and Johannesburg, Hawks officers and border control police officers.
The Western cape’s police commissioner is said to have signed off on the mammoth operation to approve it.
As part of the operations on Friday night, the entrances to some clubs were blocked.
Officers, in full camouflage gear, holding firearms, stood at the doors of some establishments.
Some patrons took to Twitter to describe what was happening.
A few people questioned what helicopters were doing circling above the area.
News24 understands that during the operation white lights attached to a vehicle, belonging to the brother of an alleged gang boss, were removed and he was fined.
The individual that was fined is aligned to a grouping, said to be headed by businessman Nafiz Modack.
Modack is said to be heading a new underworld faction which is effectively hijacking the control of club security from an older, more established grouping.
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The friction between the two groupings has resulted in violence.
In just some of the incidents, a woman was wounded in a popular Loop Street nightclub earlier this month, while on April 17 two men were wounded in a shooting in Café Caprice in Camps Bay.
Several sources with links to policing and the underworld believe the shift in the club security industry has been orchestrated by police and informants trying to take down key underworld players.
The State Security Agency has previously denied this.
But rumours of police, Hawks and Crime Intelligence officers’ involvement in the underworld shift have persisted.
News24 witnessed Modack and Northern Cape provincial police commissioner Risimati Shivuri sitting together and talking in an upmarket hotel near the V&A Waterfront.
It is not clear what they were discussing.
Well-placed sources with intimate knowledge of the situation have also claimed that acting provincial police commissioner Major-General Patrick Mbotho has met with Modack at least twice over matters relating to a vehicle and firearms.
Mbotho has denied this.
Some linked to Friday’s massive clampdown described it as a show of force.
This after the new underworld faction had gone into the city centre several times, making their way into various clubs, apparently to take over security.
On April 21 News24 had witnessed how the new underworld faction had gone to some clubs.
Armed men had been stationed outside the doors of establishments they had gone to.
Police had seized firearms and ammunition from them outside a strip club.
But these were returned to the group after they obtained a court order to get the weapons and ammunition back.
PHOTO: © Gallo Images