About the book:
In Ministry of Crime: An Underworld Explored, Mandy Wiener examines how organised crime, gangsters and powerful political figures have been able to capture the law enforcement authorities and agencies.
In this excerpt, published with permission from Pan Macmillan, Mandy provides us with some key insights into the events that transpired after Lolly Jackson’s murder and gives us an in-depth view into how his murder exposed the corruption amongst high Crime intelligence officials.
The aftermath of Lolly’s murder
It is 48 hours after Lolly Jackson’s murder when I pull up in the driveway to his Beaulieu mansion.
There is a massive aviary holding the Jacksons’ pet monkeys and they chatter away as I walk through the front door.
The Teazers boss was a keen collector of gaudy celebrity artwork and memorabilia and there are images of Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, amongst others.
Jackson’s widow has agreed to sit down with me and talk about his death.
While she was hysterical on the scene of the murder, when I greet her Demi Jackson is far more composed, but evidently still in shock.
The striking brunette is candid about her fears that her husband would be taken out in a hit.
‘Every single day he got out that door and got in his car and he rode, I worried. There’s always stories that there’s lots of people who didn’t like Lolly; there’s lots of people that loved Lolly.
I was scared of the people who didn’t like Lolly because they weren’t very good people. I was always scared about that, that was my fear.’
Demi last spoke to her husband on the morning of his murder on 3 May.
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Clutching a tiny picture of Jackson between her manicured fingers, she’s desperate for the public to know the gentler side of the brazen businessman.
‘You see these gangster movies when people have got drugs, money, money laundering; it’s always portrayed in a strip club.
With Lolly, no, it wasn’t like that. He was a loving person. His family came first and his animals came in between.
My emu got attacked by the dog and he was playing a poker tournament… He dropped everything to take the bird to Joburg Zoo because I was in tears. And that was Lolly Jackson. No one knows that side of him. He was never the sleaze,’ she assures me.
Demi featured in many of his controversial campaigns and fully supported his tactics.
She says she went so far as faking their divorce for publicity in the weeks before his death.
Tabloids speculated that Jackson was having an affair with model Christina Storm, his co-star in two soon-to-be-released movies.
Storm denied the ‘stubborn rumours’, insisting they were just ‘special friends’.
Demi agrees it was just a publicity stunt.
‘We drew up divorce papers and then we started fooling around on Facebook. I would put on “not married” and then he would put on “open relationship”, and then I would put “complicated”.
We were playing it. We were very open with each other. I always told him, “I don’t mind, if you want to have another girl, I mean you have a hundred chicks naked around you all day.”’
But it later emerged that the divorce talks were very real and that the couple were literally days away from signing the papers when he was killed.
Several sources close to Jackson told me how he was planning on giving her a house as well as a R2-million settlement.
Whatever the state of the marriage, 48 hours after the shooting Demi was set to take on the mantle of the ‘Queen of Teaze’, and was likely to inherit the reins of Jackson’s empire – which she ultimately did.
‘I know the business inside out. I’ve been in the industry for 15 years. I know Lolly inside out and how he wants the club to be run.
There’s lots of people that want to change stuff. I’m still going to keep it like Lolly Jackson, but where the girls have a mother figure,’ she says with a glimmer of determination in her eyes.
Demi has no idea as to a possible motive for her husband’s murder.
‘It’s a shock. Lolly discussed everything with me. I have question marks all over the place,’ she laments.
I’m surprised at how little she seems to know about Jackson’s business partners-cum-friends. She doesn’t seem to have a clue about the money-laundering allegations or any criminal activity.
‘I don’t know George Smith at all. I’ve never even heard of the name. Radovan.
I know Radovan as a friend of ours. Him and Lolly’s never spoken deals. He’s like a friend who’s actually stood by me even when Lolly was in jail.
Now coming out with all these stories, I’m sitting back and going, “Oh my word.” I know Lolly inside out and I didn’t even know about this – that’s what’s really puzzling me.’
Organised crime and the police
Lolly Jackson’s murder exposed one of the country’s most senior Crime Intelligence officers as being in an allegedly corrupt relationship with organised crime, much in the same way that Brett Kebble’s murder had exposed Jackie Selebi five years previously.
Just one month after Jackson was killed, Selebi was convicted of corruption and defeating the ends of justice in the High Court in Johannesburg.
In the end, prosecutors were only able to prove that he pocketed less than R120 000, but that was enough to send him to prison for 15 years.
Selebi’s conviction and Mabasa’s alleged corruption fed into the public perception that the top level of the SAPS was riddled with graft.
The swashbuckling commissioner at the time, Bheki Cele, was working hard to disabuse citizens of this notion.
He was talking tough about crime during the 2010 Football World Cup hosted in South Africa in July.
But despite his ‘stomach in, chest out’ mantra, Cele’s reign at the SAPS arguably caused even more damage to the reputation of the police.
In August 2010, news broke that Cele had signed a R500-million SAPS headquarters lease with his friend and businessman Roux Shabangu.
Cele had signed the rental lease in June, one that would see police headquarters move to the 18-storey Middestad Sanlam Centre in Pretoria, which was co-owned by Shabangu.
Police headquarters at the time were around the corner at the Wachthuis building where Selebi had sat while at the helm.
The new lease would run for 10 years.
Then it emerged that while Shabangu signed the lease agreement on 1 June 2010, the businessman actually only purchased the building in late July for R220 million.
In other words, he had signed a deal for a building he didn’t technically own.
According to the Sunday Times, the deal was also not treated as a tender, violating Treasury regulations that all government contracts over R500 000 need to go through a bidding process.
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This deal would ultimately cost Bheki Cele his job as national police commissioner just one year later.
Even worse, under Cele’s command, the wound at Crime Intelligence scratched open under Selebi was festering.
While former CI head Mulangi Mpegho was facing criminal charges for the role he had played in trying to protect Selebi, Richard Mdluli was now in charge of the unit, and it didn’t take long before allegations against Mdluli began to emerge.
They came thick and fast and there was soon a clear division between two distinct camps in the organisation: for Mdluli and against him.
In effect, I would argue, for Zuma and against him.
Between 2010 and 2011 the allegations against Mdluli piled up. They also mounted against Crime Intelligence chief financial officer Solly Lazarus and head of procurement, Colonel Hein Barnard, known as ‘Barries’.
These allegations ranged from nepotism to fraud to attempted murder.
According to a top-secret document titled ‘Allegations made by CI Officer in Witness Protection’, Mdluli was accused of hiring and paying family members of senior intelligence officials.
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‘During January/February 2010, CI advertised through a covert advertisement process 250 posts for Crime Intelligence. Most of these posts were filled by friends or family of high-ranking police officials.
Lazarus was driving this process and before these posts were even advertised, individuals were already earmarked for the above posts.
Family and friends I personally know gained by these promotions, including myself,’ the CI member is quoted as saying.
Amongst those who were hired as CI agents without any experience or requisite skills was Mdluli’s girlfriend, Theresa Lyons, who later became his wife.
She became a colonel. Her sister was appointed as a warrant officer. Mdluli’s son, ex-wife and daughter all received posts too. Mdluli allegedly gave a list of names containing individuals to Lazarus for appointment to the agent programme.
Some were supposed to set up and run an undercover internet café in Cape Town but they had limited computer skills so basic training had to be arranged for them.
Others were appointed to the loss management unit, although it was unclear what they were actually doing there.
All received advances on their monthly salaries, and state vehicles were also delivered to these so-called agents.