The murder of Cape gang kingpin Rashied Staggie has sent shock waves through the city’s underworld.
Staggie was shot dead in an apparent ambush outside his Salt River home on Friday morning. Photographs circulating on whatsapp show a man believed to be Staggie with multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.
Doctor’s at the nearby Groote Schuur hospital say the former Hard Livings gang boss was declared dead on arrival. Staggie’s murder comes a day after another Hard Livings leader was shot and killed in Mitchells Plain on Thursday. Staggie was apparently on the scene shortly after that shooting. In Salt River police have formed a wall of blue, blocking off roads and keeping away onlookers. At the nearby Groote Schuur hospital parts of the facility is under tight security as people connected to Staggie mill around.
Police would not confirm that Staggie was the target saying only that crime scene experts were on the scene of a shooting where a 58-year-old man was shot.
“The (man) died on arrival at a nearby hospital. Information at the disposal of the police indicates that the deceased was sitting in his vehicle when two unknown suspects emerged, fired several shots at him and fled on foot,” provincial police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said.
In 2013 Staggie was released on parole for a burglary at the Faure police armoury and sentenced to 13 years. Staggie kept a low profile since his release but still kept close ties to the illicit activities of his Hard Livings gang. Staggie’s murder has the potential to unleash an all-out war between rival gangs. One source close to police investigations into gang-related activity say the shooting could be in connection with soured business relations involving a tow truck business.
The gang boss is the latest in a slew of senior gangland assassinations in recent years.
In 2007 Yuri “The Russian” Ulianitski was killed along with his daughter in a drive-by shooting. In 2011 Cyril Beeka another senior figure in the underworld was shot dead in a similar fashion by shooters on motorbikes. There have since been no arrested for these two murders. Last year, Pete Mihalik, a lawyer who represented several underworld figures, was killed in Greenpoint while dropping his children at school.
Mihalik was known to have represented known high-fliers in the organised crime world.
A KwaZulu-Natal taxi boss and two alleged hitmen have been arrested and charged with his murder. But a year on, no trial date has been set for the Western Cape High Court.
Gang violence in Cape Town has escalated in recent months to the point where the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) have had to be deployed to quell some of the sporadic shootings on the Cape Flats. A Manenberg resident, where the Hard Livings gang have their base, has told the Mail and Guardian they fear intensified violence in coming days.
In 1996 Staggie’s twin brother Rashaad was killed in a vigilante attack by the anti-gang group People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) in the same road where his brother died on Friday. The two brothers built a criminal empire from their home suburb of Manenberg starting in the late 1980s and growing internationally at the turn of the century.