Thirteen bouncers arrested at the weekend – after a clampdown on the industry – have been released and will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The suspects are aged 26 to 56.
The one man who was not released is being kept in jail because police are following up on a warrant for his arrest from 2002.
The clampdown on the industry is after the arrest of underworld boss Igor Russol, 40, and an accomplice last week. Police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyk confirmed the pair were arrested for extortion and were due in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Monday. The two are accused of extorting R600 000 and a car from a local businessman.
Specialised Protection Services (SPS) senior bouncer Houssain Ait Taleb was released on R1 000 bail while the rest of the bouncers arrested at The Assembly and The Loop nightclubs were released on R500 bail each.
SPS is owned by Sea Point businessman Mark Lifman. When contacted for comment on Sunday, he said: “Don’t call my number again. You guys have been given the message.”
It is alleged that a further six clubs were raided but the police would not confirm this.
The SPS bouncers were arrested for violating the Private Security Industry Regulation Act, by not being licensed as legitimate providers of security services. Taleb was arrested for “pointing a firearm”.
Regulation is run by the Private Security Industry Regulation Authority (PSIRA).
After the arrests, it is alleged that Nigerians moved into the areas left vacant by the arrested bouncers.
Late on Friday, The Assembly posted a notice on its Facebook page, saying it had been forced to close because of a police raid.
“We apologise to all our loyal supporters for having to close tonight. The City of Cape Town arrested our security team and for safety reasons we could not trade without them,” they wrote.
Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk said the operation had been carried out by the SAPS. “We are concerned about individuals posing as security officers and being deployed at city night spots to supposedly protect patrons.
“The South African Police Services will not tolerate a stronghold in our city over our nightspots. Individuals who pose as security officers without being compliant with the law will be dealt with. Similar operations will be conducted in due course,” he said.
It is understood that the SPS has taken over security services in 183 entertainment venues in the city, the northern and southern suburbs, along with most entertainment venues in Stellenbosch, without PSIRA essential registration.
This could leave the company’s directors, Mark Lifman and André Naudé, vulnerable to hefty fines and blacklisting from the industry.
As well as companies, the act requires all security personnel, bosses as well as foot-soldiers, to be registered and accredited by PSIRA.
Only people without criminal records may operate as security providers in terms of the act.
The authority’s spokeswoman, Maggie Moroaswi, confirmed that SPS was not registered nor had it applied for accreditation.
“PSIRA is investigating the alleged contravention of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act by Specialised Protection Services. Everyone that intends to render a security-related service must be registered with PSIRA before such services are offered,” Moroaswi said.
The management of several Cape Town clubs have said they had been intimidated to sign on to SPS in what more than one described as a classic underworld protection racket scenario unfolding around them, in which a failure to pay up would be met with either the threat or the reality of violence on the premises.
Clubs that opted to employ their own doormen were nevertheless required to pay so-called “management fees” to SPS for “keeping the streets clean”.
Venues pay from R250 a week to R25 000 a month for SPS’s services. Some said this was simply because it wasn’t worth it to refuse.
The establishment of SPS comes in the wake of the assassination of Cyril Beeka, previously the kingpin in club protection in Cape Town.