'We support the needy,' alleged underworld bosses Mark Lifman and Jerome Booysen tell court

23 December 2020 - 13:16
Jerome Booysen, Mark Lifman and William Steven leave the Cape Town magistrate's court after each posted R100,000 bail.
Jerome Booysen, Mark Lifman and William Steven leave the Cape Town magistrate's court after each posted R100,000 bail.
Image: Esa Alexander

Alleged underworld bosses Mark Lifman and Jerome Booysen have presented themselves as philanthropists.

Lifman, 53, and Booysen, 56, appeared in the Cape Town magistrate’s court on Tuesday together with alleged 27s gang boss William Steven, 66, in connection with the murder of “steroid king” Brian Wainstein in 2017.

In affidavits handed to court in support of their bid to be released on bail, Lifman and Booysen said they were involved with charities.

Lifman said after completing matric at Sea Point Boys High School he “completed compulsory military service”.

“I am a property owner and developer and own a hotel in Sea Point,” read his 10-page affidavit. “I own approximately 70 properties in the Cape Town area. I am involved with charities and in the past have donated clothing to underprivileged residents in Gugulethu. I also have from time to time donated to the organisation Cafda.

“I may have one previous conviction for negligent driving. I have no pending cases and other than the present matter, there are no outstanding warrants against me.”

Lifman denied any involvement in Wainstein’s killing.

“The incident was allegedly committed between May and August 2017. Although I am aware of who the deceased is, I deny I in any way conspired with any other person to cause his death, nor was I in any way involved in his death,” the affidavit reads.

“In respect of this matter, completely and unexpectedly I was advised by my lawyer that there was a warrant of arrest issued against me and I was requested to report to the Cape Town police station to arrange for me to appear in court.”

Brian Wainstein on CCTV entering the Nutrition Rage store in Green Point in 2016. File photo
Brian Wainstein on CCTV entering the Nutrition Rage store in Green Point in 2016. File photo
Image: CCTV

Lifman said he co-operated with the police and asked the court to lower the R100,000 bail amount requested by the state to R20,000.

He fought to avoid being placed under house arrest and to retain his firearm. The court heard he owned eight firearms.

“I wish to state I have co-operated throughout with the police and prosecuting authorities in this matter. In fact, I would have reported earlier to the police to have the matter placed on the court roll, but due to my travelling for business purposes to Johannesburg and Durban in the period since my lawyer received a phone call from the prosecutor meant I was unable to do so,” the affidavit read.

“I submit the state’s case against me is weak because there has been this lengthy delay before a decision was made to have me prosecuted.”

He said house arrest would have a negative effect on his businesses as he constantly had to travel in SA.

“To have to be restricted to my home for the duration of this matter, I believe it will be a harsh and unreasonable bail condition. The case will probably take a long time before it is completed, which will mean I may be under house arrest for months, if not years. This will impact on my life and my business interests will be negatively affected. I am also prepared to surrender my passport.”

Lifman said he needed his firearm for self-defence.

“I require my firearm for purposes of self-defence. It is unreasonable that my firearm be removed as I believe I am a fit and proper person to possess a firearm and there are no facts to indicate the contrary,” the affidavits read.

“I am not a flight risk and will stand my trial. I am a not a threat to any witness[es] and I will not tamper with any evidence. I am not even aware of who the witnesses are. I am not a danger to society.”

Booysen expressed similar sentiments.

He has been married for 30 years, has 10 children aged between two and 35. He financially supports six of his children and three grandchildren.

“I was employed by the City of Cape Town as a building inspector for approximately 21 years before I retired,” read his affidavit.

“Thereafter, I became self-employed as a property developer and property speculator. I further provide student accommodation and I am involved with charities such as Basket of Hope. I have also from time to time made donations within my community.

“In addition, I am the president of the Belhar Rugby Club where I also uplift the community through sport.”

The trio was released on R100,000 bail. The case was postponed to February 9.

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