Chaos erupted outside the Bellville Magistrates’ Court on Friday as angry protesters confronted prominent businessman Irshaad Laher and arms collector Allan Robert Raves.
The pair face multiple charges including corruption and fraud, racketeering, money laundering, theft of firearms and ammunition and possession of prohibited firearms.
Raves faces 15 counts, including the unlawful sale or supply of firearms and ammunition, erasing the serial number of a firearm, defacing marks on SA National Defence Force firearms, and failure to keep an adequate register of firearms.
Laher’s accused of buying 2000 guns from former police Colonel Christiaan Prinsloo of Vereeniging, who’s been sentenced to 18 years in jail after a plea agreement with the State, and selling them to gangs including the Americans, Mongrels and Hard Livings.
The State believes Raves, a former inspector for the SA Heritage Resources Institute, whose duties included monitoring firearms meant for destruction, entered into a corrupt relationship with Prinsloo and kept firearms for their own benefit and sold them to gangsters.
The People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) as well as a crowd of angry women, led by controversial Reverend June Major, wants Laher and Raves “to be tried as killers”.
“I ministered on the Cape Flats for 12 years and I buried too many children who were shot,” Major said.
“Enough is enough.”
In May, a disgruntled Major, 47, went on a hunger strike to protest against alleged discrimination by her Anglican Church.
Outside Courtroom G, angry Pagad members shouted “Allahu Akbar” at Laher who were standing in the passage.
The Pagad members were escorted out of court by police.
Raves’ case was transferred to the Western Cape High Court for trial and he was ordered to make his first appearance there on November 4 for a pre-trial conference.
Laher was told to appear in the Bellville District Court again on October 18 when his case will be transferred to the high court as well.
He is to join Raves at the pre-trial conference in November.
The State is represented by advocates Shareen Riley and Christiaan de Jongh, both attached to the Western Cape Directorate for Public Prosecutions.
They requested the postponement of Laher’s case to October in order to obtain authority from the National Prosecuting Authority for the racketeering charges against both men.
Laher is out on bail of R100 000 and Raves on R20 000.
After the hearing, Laher evaded the angry crowd waiting outside and was reportedly taken out through a different entrance by police.
But Raves was not as lucky.
The 50-year-old tried his best to ignore the crowd of angry women, led by Reverend June, who called him a murderer.
“The fact that Prinsloo only got 18 years is not enough because those guns were used to rape, to kill to rob people and I want them to be charged with mass murder,” she says.
Pagad spokesperson, Haroon Orrie, said Laher’s bail should be revoked.
The businessman was forced to sell his shares in two Spur and two Nando’s restaurant franchises after the community threatened to boycott the branches.
“People are frustrated because he is walking the streets,” said Orrie.
“The fact that he got bail is what got people frustrated. His bail should be revoked, he should not be allowed to walk the streets.”
Emotional Hanover Park resident, Mary Klaasen said Raves and Laher are responsible for her son’s death.
“They are my son’s murderers, they created murderers in our areas,” she says.
“They must rot in jail; there should be no mercy for them because they were the ones who did this to our children in Hanover Park.”