Club manager met with alleged underworld boss for 'protection'

17 April 2019 - 20:25 By Aron hyman and Kamal Morgan
Alleged extortionist Nafiz Modack outside the Cape Town Regional Court during a break in his trial this week.
Alleged extortionist Nafiz Modack outside the Cape Town Regional Court during a break in his trial this week.
Image: Esa Alexander

Radley Dijkers was in a pickle. He had made statements to the police incriminating an alleged faction of the Cape Town underworld in a case he wanted nothing to do with.

But when he realised that “the only police officers he trusts” could not help him, he called their enemies for protection.

In an ever-expanding testimony being unravelled under cross-examination in the Cape Town Regional Court on Wednesday, Dijkers, brand manager of the Grand Africa Café & Beach, said alleged underworld boss Mark Lifman picked him up at the Oceana Power Boat Club, 50m from the Grand Africa Café and out of range of the nightclub’s cameras.

He said that although he did not want to be seen with Lifman, he needed his help to secure his safety.

This was after Nafiz Modack, Colin Booysen and three other men were arrested on extortion charges based on a statement he made on December 15 2017.

Modack and Booysen, along with their co-accused Ashley Fields and Jacques Cronjé, are standing trial for allegedly extorting the Grand Africa Café to the value of R90,000.

During the meeting, Lifman encouraged Dijkers to testify in the case, at which point Dijkers raised safety concerns and asked him for the contact details of someone who could provide a security service.

The day before his meeting with Lifman, on 16 December 2017, Dijkers had given evidence of threats allegedly made against him to investigating officer Lt-Col Charl Kinnear. He was also allegedly asked by Amina Hendricks, a woman "who was like a second mother" to Modack, to change his statement against the accused.

Dijkers told the court that even though Capt Sharon Japhta of the Cape Town gang unit offered support by “deploying” two police officers in plain clothing, he was not happy with the protection she offered. He needed someone to protect him “24 hours” and decided to go to Lifman.

The magistrate in the case asked whether the state was planning on bringing Kinnear and Japhta to testify because “their names are popping up all the time”. The state prosecutor indicated that they could be brought to testify.

Dijkers was testifying as an implicated witness after he was indicted during his first day of testimony as an accused person.

Lawyers Bruce Hendricks and Dirk Uys accused Dijkers of misleading the court. They pointed out that he was hiding details pertaining to how the investigation was done and his alleged association to a plot against the accused, concocted by Lifman and the police.

Dijkers denied any knowledge of a “conspiracy”. He claimed that although he was not threatened by the accused, he “had no choice” about whether or not to enter into an agreement with them.

He said he was sanctioned by the CEO of the Harbour House Group (now known as Life & Brand Portfolio), which owns the Grand Africa Café and several other popular Cape Town restaurants and bars, to enter negotiations with TSG, the security company run by the accused, and did so willingly.

He said he never wanted to make a statement against the accused and was furious with his former group brand manager, Stewart Bailey, when he found out that he had opened a case of extortion.

Shortly after Bailey opened the case, Dijkers claims Japhta threatened to “hold him as an accomplice” if he did not make a statement.

A few days after making his statement, he claims he gave Japhta and five members of her gang unit branded jackets worth R1,800 in order to generate “good will” towards him.

The case continues.