There was a heavy police presence at the Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Monday where controversial business and alleged underworld boss Nafiz Modack and six others appeared on various charges.
The courtroom was packed to capacity with relatives, members of the media and cops in bulletproof vests and Modack and Colin Booysen, the brother of alleged Sexy Boys and 26s gang boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen, faced charges of extortion and intimidation.
The duo and three other accused - Carl Lakay, Ashley Fields and Jacques Cronje - who appeared on similar charges, were busted early on Friday morning in Cape Town.
Two other accused - James de Jäger and Matthys Visser - were charged with possession of an illegal firearm and ammunition.
The seven have been linked to a violent nightclub security takeover, allegedly headed by Modack, which started last year.
The accused are set to spend Christmas behind bars after their cases were postponed to next Wednesday for bail applications.
Cops were told not to allow any more people into the packed courtroom, while reporters who usually sit at the front of the courtroom were told to move to the public gallery.
Also present in court was Major-General Jeremy Vearey, the head of the Cape Town police cluster, which made the arrests on Friday.
De Jäger and Visser appeared first, and State prosecutor Adiel Jansen asked the court to remand the matter for seven days in order to build a criminal profile.
“The accused [De Jäger] is a high profiler and linked to the underworld. It will take some time to build a criminal profile on the accused,” Jansen said.
Later, a smiling Booysen, dressed in a Nike jacket, looked around until he spotted family members.
There were shocked murmurs in court when it emerged Booysen’s legal counsel is Advocate Peter Mihalik, the lawyer of rival, alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield.
The State opposed bail, because it believed this would put witnesses and residents at risk.
More charges were also expected to be added under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.
Counsels for all the accused asked for bail as they were “not sure” about the charges brought against their clients, which Mihalik said he found “highly irregular”.
Modack’s lawyer, advocate Irfaan Parker, told the court: “He doesn’t even know what he is being charged with. We have yet to see the charge sheet. He has no pending cases, no previous convictions and we are open to bail conditions.”
The court granted a request by advocate Bruce Hendricks that his client, Lakay, be moved to the hospital section of the prison due to a chronic illness which affects his eyesight.
Bail was denied and the seven men are expected back in court on 27 December.
Outside court, Vearey, who was one of the arresting officers, said more details will emerge as the case develops.
“There is a certain group of people attached to certain incidents and it will unfold in the next few months. It will take time (to convict them) but we will not give up,” he said.