Top attorney William Booth survives murder attempt by masked gunmen

09 April 2020 - 10:58 By Aron Hyman
Cape Town attorney William Booth outside his Higgovale home after an attempt on his life on April 9 2020.
Cape Town attorney William Booth outside his Higgovale home after an attempt on his life on April 9 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

Two armed suspects wearing surgical masks fired shots at the residence of top Cape Town advocate William Booth on Thursday morning.

“The circumstances surrounding an attempted murder are under police investigation following an incident at the Higgovale residence of a lawyer this morning around 7.30,” said police spokesperson Col Andrè Traut.

“Two armed suspects wearing surgical masks fired shots at the victim but failed in their attempt and fortunately missed. They fled the scene and are yet to be arrested.”

William Booth and Sans Souci Girls' High School teacher, Clarissa Venter, outside the Wynberg magistrate's court last year.
William Booth and Sans Souci Girls' High School teacher, Clarissa Venter, outside the Wynberg magistrate's court last year.
Image: Sipokazi Fokazi

Booth is the latest lawyer to be targeted in shootings in Cape Town and is considered one of the top organised-crime lawyers in the city, representing clients such as alleged underworld figures Mark Lifman and Andre Naude.

Lifman, Naude and Jerome “Donkie” Booysen are the arch-rivals in the nightclub security industry of a grouping controlled by alleged underworld figures Nafiz Modack and Colin Booysen, Donkie’s brother.

With virtually the whole of Cape Town’s underworld involved in a perpetual bloody feud over control of nightclub doors, spots at auction houses and other turf ripe for lucrative deals and alleged extortion, the courts have become battlegrounds and their lawyers their greatest assets.

William Booth, right, outside his house after an attempt to murder him on April 9 2020.
William Booth, right, outside his house after an attempt to murder him on April 9 2020.
Image: Anthony Molyneaux

In recent years, allegations have surfaced in open court that the criminal justice system and the police are also being roped in to execute arrests on trumped-up charges, with lawyers such as Booth and advocate Pete Mihalik making spectacles of the alleged injustice against their clients.

Noorudien Hassan was the first lawyer to be killed in a hit in November 2016.

His colleague Mihalik was murdered outside his children's school in Green Point in October 2018. He was Modack's legal representative in an extortion case in which he and other lawyers alleged the police investigation against his client was the work of a conspiracy involving Modack's underworld rivals and the police. 

Modack, Booysen, Jacques Cronje and Ashley Fields were found not guilty by the Cape Town regional court in that case. 

Booth has similarly alleged that police misconduct was behind the wrongful arrests of his clients Lifman and Naude. 

Last year, attorney David Mbazwana and former magistrate and organised-crime advocate Vernon Jantjies were killed in separate hits.


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