'Long Street protection racket now targeting coffee shops, not just nightclubs'
Can you imagine being a bar or restaurant in the CBD, left financially crippled by the lockdown, only then to have your livelihood threatened by a protection racket?
Well, my next guest is the chairperson of the Long Street Association and says this is a reality for many Cape businesses.
Authorities are well aware of the threat posed by illegal protection operations, and the City of Cape Town has called on the national government to investigate the underworld syndicates, but to date, it seems the scourge continues.
Randolf Jorberg, the chairman of the Long Street Association and owner of Beerhouse, speaks to Refilwe Moloto about the threat posed to businesses by protection rackets, demanding large sums of cash from already struggling businesses.
Jorberg says coffee shops, night clubs, restaurants and bars in areas such as Cape Town's Long Street know they cannot run the door of their night club themselves.
They have no choice but to sign up with the security companies running these rackets.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
On 18 August restaurants and coffee shops were allowed to reopen after months of being closed under Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
The first day that restaurants and coffee shops were allowed to trade again, Nafiz Modack and his guys - up to 15 guys - suddenly rock up at your door...and tries to extort money from regular restaurants.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
In the past Jorberg suggests these alleged extortion practices were aimed at nightclubs. But not anymore. The net has been thrown much wider.
Modack is so desperate for turnover he now goes after everyone - after coffee shops, after little tiny corner bars - no longer just the nightlife clubs and venues anymore.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
He tries to extort R20,000 and similar amounts...in return for nothing.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
Jorberg says it has moved beyond Long Street to Sea Point, Woodstock, and other areas.
There are even reports that luxury hotels and apartment buildings being targeted, being visited by Modack and this group....reporting he has visited them 10 times over a period of days.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
If this group is not providing door security then what is it for, asks Refilwe?
It is just to keep them away.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
Four black vehicles are rolling up with big bodyguards coming out, visibly armed, obviously there to intimidate people, not coming for a friendly chat. He comes with a very clear message - pay up or else.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
He says this extortion has been going on in Cape Town for many years and has been reported to the authorities many times.
Business owners live in fear, with some of them having paid for years out of fear.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
Despite many reports nothing changes, he adds.
What happens, again and again, is the same cycle, People who speak out begin being intimidated by Modack, receiving death threats, receiving increased visits, and at some point, people will crack.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
They eventually change their story and back off, he says.
Is Jorgberg not afraid to speak out then, asks Refilwe?
He says he is speaking out only because he is a German national and is currently in Germany and will not be returning to Cape Town for the next few weeks.
Jorberg says he is assessing his options and whether he will return at all.
My doorman Joe was brutally killed by an organised hit in 2015. They get away with murder.Randolf Jorberg, Chairperson - Long Street Association
Moloto spoke to Modack who asked for a right of reply the following day. Here is what he had to say.
Listen to the interview below:
A caller phoned and says extortion is happening throughout the city.
It's everywhere...in the townships, the Somalis are paying what they call a protection fee.Caller, Anonymous
Listen to the caller below:
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