With the extensive gang-related violence in Cape Town, from felonies in the Cape Flats to nightclub shootings in town, you might have been wondering just where exactly all the weapons have been coming from.
A task team set up by the Hawks to deal with “serious threats” in the Western Cape is currently focusing on the underworld violence in the Cape’s nightclubs, and includes an investigation into “the firearms – six shotguns and two handguns – which were allegedly fraudulently obtained,” reports News24.
So where did they come from? Oooh, wouldn’t you like to know…
While most information regarding the probe’s activities are contained in affidavits, some details emerged in the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday:
On July 12, police seized the six shotguns, and ammunition, from a Bellville security company, Skhosana Maponyane Hall Phillips and Khumalo, trading as The Security Group (TSG).
In an effort to get the weapons back, TSG approached the High Court for an urgent order forcing the police to return the firearms. The application was unsuccessful.
It has previously been involved in a similar court application to get back guns seized outside a city centre strip club on April 21. This application succeeded and the weapons were returned.
In April, News24 reported that TSG claimed online that its members work with police and intelligence officers. The State Security Agency distanced itself from the company.
TSG has links to the controversial bouncer industry. In court yesterday, Ranjan Jaga and Stacey Hendricks, representing the police in the High Court on Tuesday, argued that:
TSG’s firearms should not be returned. Jaga said the confiscated firearms formed part of two linked investigations.
“This is a co-ordinated investigation where two police departments are working together and are investigating the nightclub industry,” he said.
Jaga said the Hawks were investigating TSG head Grant Veroni for fraud. He said Veroni was being disingenuous when he claimed he had no idea what the fraud matter was about.
He said Veroni’s photograph was attached to the firearms licence application, and his signature and fingerprint were appended to it.
The fraud regards Veroni’s application for 10 firearm licences at the Bellville police station, dated July 2014. As a motivation for the licences, Veroni attached a list of security guards allegedly employed by TSG:
“Investigation has since proved that the list of security guards was fraudulent,” he said.
“It is suspected that TSG placed an advertisement on the internet offering employment to registered security guards and obtained CVs in this manner. The particulars of these guards were then fraudulently used.”
Barkhuizen said six of the guards were traced and provided affidavits.
According to another court document, their identities were redacted from his affidavit due to the “volatile and sensitive nature” of the nightclub industry investigation.
And this is how the investigation came about:
Around June 29, the Hawks approached the unit and asked that it help in investigating TSG.
“The (Hawks) usually undertakes investigations by means of an integrated approach by co-ordinating multi-disciplinary agencies to address serious threats in the province,” Van Lill says in his affidavit.
“The request, we were advised, came about as a result of the fact that the (Hawks) had convened a task team to investigate the incidents of shootings and other violent acts at various nightclubs in Cape Town.”
Following this investigation, the Hawks had asked the Flash unit and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority to investigate TSG’s compliance with the Firearms Control Act.
Representing TSG and Veroni, Dirk Uijs, SC, said Veroni was licensed to have firearms, but had just not kept proper records.
One step at a time, Hawks, let’s just hope you don’t hit any Gupta-related links otherwise you can be sure the whole case will be dropped.
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