Private investigator Brad Nathanson talks to Independent Newspapers. Picture: Marilyn Bernard

Durban - Super-sleuth Brad Nathanson is scheduled to arrive back in South Africa on Saturday morning, guns blazing, and his target is a fellow Durban private investigator.

Nathanson intends to take legal action against Sean Peirce because Peirce claimed Nathanson was fleecing his clients.

Nathanson says his rivals were jealous of his celebrity status.

“Flipping Facebook has caused this. I have been targeted because I am in the limelight. I didn’t want that.

“It all started with being on Facebook. So many of my detractors think this is what I strived to be.

“Newspapers followed the stories and I ended up in the papers. It just grew exponentially from there. I am sorry that it happened.”

Nathanson’s Facebook profile attracted massive popularity with countless positive comments from his 57 000 followers. He closed it late last year, claiming his detractors were manipulating it.

He has since kept a lower profile.

He denies fleecing his clients.

“I have not taken clients’ money with no delivery,” Nathanson said. “I categorically say with an open heart and before God I have never done that, ever, in my life. If anybody accuses me of taking money, it’s an absolute lie.”

He said most people in the private investigation industry – Peirce included – were no strangers to such controversy and allegations.

“He must bring proof of that,” Peirce retorted, saying he did not have a problem with Nathanson personally. “I have clients who have complained. They have seen prosecutors about the issue.”

According to reports, charges have been laid at Durban North police station. However, at the time of going to press, it could not be established whether any decision had been made to prosecute Nathanson.

Peirce said among those who had complained about Nathanson’s lack of action were two farmers who paid deposits of R57 000 and R30 000.

Nathanson said he would be going through these cases on his return, which could be slightly delayed because of an investigation in Soweto.

Peirce denied he was conducting a professional vendetta against Nathanson because he was a celebrity.

“Facts are facts. Some of the stories are horrifying,” he said.

Nathanson added: “I shall go after Peirce in a legal way. His actions amount to defamation and casting aspersions. I’ll deal with him. I will not take this lying down. I am sick and tired of dealing with this every 30 seconds.”

He said he had been out of the country with his wife Esme to bid her dying grandfather farewell. It had been an emotional time for him.

Durban private investigators said such allegations harmed the the industry.

“If PIs get a bad reputation, I cannot make a living,” said Waterfall-based Ryan King. “I am not a fan of bashing someone in the industry.”

Another, who would not be named, said Nathanson had, maybe, been flying too high. “But he’s a lekker ou,” he said.

Nathanson is no stranger to having brushes with the law.

Last October, he landed up in court charged with assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and pointing a firearm at his children’s step-father Brad Engelbrecht.

Engelbrecht and his wife, Sally - Nathanson’s ex-wife - had requested that Nathanson come to discuss a domestic matter at their Kloof home.

Charges were provisionally withdrawn.

Independent on Saturday