Cape Town – The business empire of alleged gang wife, Nicole Johnson, is starting to crash following her incarceration, the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court has heard.
Details of the business ventures of the wife of alleged 28s gang boss, Ralph Stanfield, were laid bare as it was revealed that she now faces losing two upmarket Sorbet salons, as the group have terminated her agreements.
This comes as a new bid for freedom after her bail was denied last year.
Johnson and her husband, along with Johannes “Bal” Abrahams, Denver Booysen and Jose Brand were arrested by the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) on charges allegedly linked to a manhunt and attempted murder of a former employee of Ralph, after he allegedly stole over R1 million from the couple.
During the explosive bail hearings, it was revealed that the former employee, who is now a state witness, had not arrived at work on November 24, 2022, after a tip-off that Ralph had planned to “kill him”.
The witness then hid his girlfriend’s BMW in a complex in Milnerton and went into hiding.
According to the state’s case, the couple embarked on a “witch-hunt” and even threatened the father of the witness, slapped an unsuspecting neighbour and took the car without the vehicle owner’s permission.
During the new bail hearing, State prosecutor, advocate Nathan Adriaanse, said AGU detectives had been in contact with the Sorbet Group, whose legal representatives had informed them that they had terminated the agreement with Johnson.
He argued that her release on bail would not salvage the situation as the group had already compiled an offer to purchase, but explained that her lawyers had difficulty accessing her in prison to discuss the offers.
Defence advocate, Laurence Hodes told the court that if released on bail, Johnson could renegotiate the franchise deals.
The Sorbet Group CEO confirmed they had made an offer to purchase: “Sorbet has made an offer to purchase Sorbet Man Cape Quarter and Sorbet Man Canal Walk. This decision was made in the best interest of the brand, other franchisees, employees, suppliers and customers, and in the context of Ms Johnson not meeting some of her franchisee obligations. If the offer is accepted, the employees or ‘Sorbet Citizens’ will be retained by the business”.
Last month, City manager Lungelo Mbandazayo revealed that the municipality had blacklisted 12 companies owned by or affiliated to Johnson.
He told the that in a move to clamp down on the construction mafia in Cape town, the municipality had embarked on an intense investigation into ongoing extortion by gangs which were holding up various developments across Cape Town.
Highlighting her alleged links to the underworld, as reported in the media, he wrote to each of the companies informing them of the plans to blacklist them, stating that any tenders awarded to them could cause the City reputational damage.
Mbandazayo said the municipality also cancelled a property deal just over a week ago, where Johnson bought a City property in Gardens on an auction.
He explained that the property in New Church Street was valued at R2.4 million and was auctioned by High Street Auctioneers and sold to a company owned by Johnson, where she made a R3m cash offer.
He said he became aware of the sale on December 14, and discovered that only the deposit and the auctioneers’ commission had been paid, allowing them to immediately terminate the sale.
Meanwhile, Johnson will return to court on January 16 for judgment on her new bail application.