Hitman takes the stand in Modack trial

Alleged underworld kingpin, Nafiz Modack. Picture: Independent Newspapers

Alleged underworld kingpin, Nafiz Modack. Picture: Independent Newspapers

Published Mar 19, 2024


Cape Town - A self-confessed hitman has taken the stand in the Western Cape High Court against his former friends in the ongoing trial against alleged underworld kingpin, Nafiz Modack.

After weeks of delays, the State on Monday began introducing evidence and called its first witness who admitted to murdering Nicolaas Heerschap, the father of a Hawks detective, allegedly at the instructions of the Terrible West Siders gang in Woodstock.

The hitman, who can only be named as “Mr A”, smiled in the dock as he turned on his former friends and openly accused Moegamat Toufeek Brown, Riyaat Gesant, Fagmeed Kelly and Mario Pietersen of being the leaders of the gang.

According to the State’s case, the witness killed the 74-year-old man who was shot in a botched hit on his son outside their home in Melkbosstrand in 2019.

At the time, the Hawks revealed that his son, former Warrant Officer Nico Heerschap, had left home early on the day to testify in the Cape Town Regional Court against the owner of a VIP protection services company.

The security company, which has since ceased to operate, had issues with firearms that were seized by the Hawks due to a lack of documents.

The State witness, who is already serving 25 years after pleading guilty to the murder, is originally from Khayelitsha and said he grew up at Buckley’s House in Woodstock.

His mother workrd there as a domestic. He said after she left her job he returned to Woodstock as he enjoyed being there, and he became acquainted with Kelly.

He admitted to a long life of crimes, telling Judge Robert Henney about all his sentences for petty crimes ranging from drugs and robbery to house breaking.

He said in 2012 he became a member of the Terrible West Siders and spent the next five years in and out of prison.

“They even sentenced me for pliers, saying it was house-breaking implements but it was just pliers,” he said as chuckles broke out in the courtroom.

The State witness outed Brown as the leader of the gang and claimed while operating as a drug merchant in 2019, he approached him for help.

He said after flushing his drugs during a raid he owed money and Brown helped him pay R500.

On June 15, 2019, Gesant, Kelly and Pietersen along with three other gang members approached him saying they “needed his krag (manpower)”. It is believed this was when the conspiracy to murder Heerschap began.

The trial continues.

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Cape Argus