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30/04/2018 09:24 SAST | Updated 30/04/2018 14:49 SAST

[EXTRACT] 'Ministry Of Crime': 'Security Mafia' Boss Says Cape Town Is Safer Because Of Them

"We've cleaned up town so all the gangs are out of Cape Town... The media are saying we are causing havoc; it's not like that. Cape Town is safe now."

Pan Macmillan

I count at least six men sitting and smoking on the balcony of Hassen-Harmse Attorneys on the seventh floor of the Mandela Rhodes building in the vibrating Cape Town city centre. The motley crew is there as protection for Nafiz Modack, who has just been released from custody after being granted bail. There has been so much chatter about murder plots and hits that he moves with a pack.

For him, there's safety in numbers and the men surround him as he makes his way in and out of the busy building. The juxtaposition of these men with the fancy lawyers' offices makes for a memorable sight. Modack leaves most of his posse outside as he sits with me in a boardroom, bringing only the security industry veteran and his current right-hand man, Jacques Cronjé, with him.

The lawyers also sit in on the interview while we talk. The man who has earned himself a reputation as the new boss in town isn't quite as intimidating when he's on his own, although he definitely has a presence about him. He's in a leather jacket, jeans, sneakers and sunglasses, and has his ubiquitous black leather man-bag with him. He spins his three thick silver rings as he leans back in the chair and speaks confidently. He has three cellphones on the boardroom table that hum regularly.

There has been a lot of speculation about who Modack is actually working for and about the fact that he's been photographed with so many senior cops. I've been told on the record that he's a registered police source. I've also been told that he's on the payroll of the SSA.

Modack has always been vague about his involvement with the state. When asked about this in a previous interview with News24, he denied buying information from Crime Intelligence officers or selling information. He would not comment on how he had got hold of the 'classified documents' about police generals that he claimed police had illegally removed from his Plattekloof home.

He said he worked with several wealthy international clients, 'foreigners and big investors', and provided security to 'people right from the top down'. Including politicians. He's been photographed with Duduzane Zuma and I've been told the two men are close.

When I ask Modack if he is a registered police agent, his response is emphatic: 'No, I'm not. [Gauteng Hawks boss Prince Mokotedi] wanted me to register, but I didn't register. I said I'll give him the information for free to make everything safer in Cape Town. I mean, if I was a registered informer, the moment these people locked me up I could pick up the phone and ask him to get me out immediately.'

He says he is cooperating with the police to clean up the city.

'Look, if they want information I can give them information to make Cape Town safer and to make the clubs safer. That's my duty as a South African citizen and that is what I've done. There are no corrupt allegations against me to say I've phoned this guy to help me or that guy. It's crap.'

Modack insists that the meetings with the cops are 'just to make Cape Town safer' and denies the claim that he's a registered source.

Aside from his proximity to the police, questions have also been raised about Modack's close association with politicians. What is the story with Duduzane Zuma then? I ask.

When I follow up with a specific question as to whether he is working for the State Security Agency and if they are backing his takeover, his response is 'No comment'.

Officially, the State Security Agency says it can't comment on this. 'Operational information as to how sources are recruited and the identity thereof is strictly prohibited from disclosure. At all material times, the SSA must follow the law and all regulatory prescripts in the conduct of its work,' says spokesperson Brian Dube.

Modack says it is Lifman who is the registered source. 'They got that information from Mark Lifman. Lifman is a registered informer. When the incident happened at the auction, [a cop] took Lifman to Parow police station to open a case and lay a charge there.'

Following Lifman's arrest, he claimed he was targeted by a group of cops acting at Modack's command. Again, Modack insists that this is not true.

'I go to the police station. I don't phone someone and ask them to do me a favour. Normal procedure was followed. Anyone who is not locked up is allowed to open a case – it's law.'

He's also questioned General Jeremy Vearey's motives and says the senior policeman is pursuing this matter because it's 'personal'.

'I got information that Vearey is linked to Jerome Booysen. All the evidence came out in court and they still say the allegations are not there. Other police are doing the investigation so we will have to wait and see what the outcome is. He's the one who had links with the gangs all over the years, not myself. Even Colin said to me that Vearey is his brother.'

Aside from his proximity to the police, questions have also been raised about Modack's close association with politicians. What is the story with Duduzane Zuma then? I ask.

'There's no story. I just walked into him at the One&Only. Whatever cop was surveilling us took a photo. There is no relation; they just blew it out of proportion when they got the picture.'

As was the case with Krejcir, I get the sense that Modack may be a built-up myth in much the same way the Czech was. He's being touted as the new 'Don' in town. I ask him if this is true.

'Not at all.'

'Have you taken over from Cyril?' 'Not at all.'

We didn't bring the violence; the violence was there, but the police kept it subtle. Every day people got raped in the clubs, but the police covered it up.

Modack doesn't know whether he will be arrested again, but for now, he's just carrying on with his business. 'Anybody can be arrested for anything. I don't know, we'll see what happens. Carry on. Selling motor vehicles and properties.'

He's not quite sure how this standoff between the two factions is going to resolve itself. I venture that there may be more violence, more bloodshed. 'I have no idea; it will just play out in its own time. When TSG took over the security, there were only two shootings in the clubs, one at Caprice and one by Coco. That were the gangs and we gave that information to [police investigator] Paul Hendrickse and he arrested them, that's why there's no more shooting at the clubs.

The way they're putting it is, we shot at the clubs; the time the shootings happened, TSG already had the security – they didn't have to go there and fight to get the contract. The public thinks we were there to take over the club and people got shot innocently. Those people went there particularly to cause ructions in Cape Town.'

Modack wants the residents of Cape Town to know that he and his men are not violent. They are there to bring peace and stability to the nightclub scene and to remove drugs from the clubs. He wants to assure everyone that the clubs are safe.

'We didn't bring the violence; the violence was there, but the police kept it subtle. Every day people got raped in the clubs, but the police covered it up. Their police were covering up everything, that's why no one knew what was happening in the clubs. Now if someone walks on the street and slip on the banana peel, they will phone the police and say Modack was there,' he says, echoing a phrase we have heard many times before from Krejcir.

'We've cleaned up town so all the gangs are out of Cape Town. People who go there to enjoy themselves can be sure that they're not going to get hurt or shot. It's safe to go there. The media are saying we are causing havoc; it's not like that. Cape Town is safe now.'

Pan Macmillan

* This is an extract from "Ministry of Crime" by award-winning journalist Mandy Wiener. It is published by Pan Macmillan South Africa.