Bouncer turned businessman Cyril Beeka, who died in a hail of bullets 12 days ago in a slaying that had all the hallmarks of a professional hit, has been buried in Cape Town.
Hundreds of people packed into the Good Hope Christian Centre in Ottery on Saturday for the funeral service.
He was shot dead on March 21, while travelling in a BMW through Bellville South.
Police say a motorcyclist pulled up alongside the vehicle and opened fire. No one has been charged with his murder.
Among other business interests at the time of his death, Beeka was managing a number of security companies providing protection to Cape Town clubs, pubs and escort agencies.
He reportedly started his working life as a strip-club bouncer.
It has also emerged he had ties with the intelligence services, including links to the National Intelligence Agency.
In 2007, he accompanied intelligence boss Mo Shaik to the African National Congress’ conference in Polokwane as a minder.
Last year, the Star reported that Beeka saw the prime suspect in the Lolly Jackson murder case on the night the Teazers strip-club owner was shot dead.
Twelve years ago, Beeka appeared in court accused of murder. At the time, he was alleged to be a key figure behind protection rackets in Cape Town’s clubland.
At his funeral service on Saturday, no reference was made to Beeka’s past.
‘Flair for fighting’
The funeral began to Frank Sinatra singing My Way, while photographs from Beeka’s life were shown on large screens around the centre.
Beeka, who would have turned 50 this year, was one of eight children, and grew up in Cape Town’s northern suburbs.
Paying tribute to his brother, Jonathan Beeka said he had “a natural flair for fighting”, and achieved his black belt in karate in only four years.
“He was truly larger than life,” he said.
Others who paid tribute to Beeka painted a picture of a man dedicated to his family and fiercely protective of his four children — three daughters and an 11-month-old son.
Security at the venue was tight. Guards with hand-held metal detectors scanned all those who entered the centre’s grounds and inside the building burly ushers in dark suits patrolled the aisles.
Journalists were asked to register, after which they were issued with a green wrist band.
Beeka was buried later on Saturday at the Plumstead Cemetery.
There was a strong police presence around the centre, and the traffic officers were on duty at major intersections along the route to the cemetery.
Since the killing nearly a fortnight ago, Beeka has been linked to Czech businessman Radovan Krejcir, now in custody, who has been charged with fraud.
Police say Beeka’s name was on an alleged hit list found during a raid they mounted on Krejcir’s house last week.
It is also reported that Beeka was a one-time business partner of Yuri “The Russian” Ulianitski, who was shot dead together with his four-year-old daughter in 2007, while travelling in his car in Cape Town. – Sapa