SUSPECTED crime mastermind William "Mashobane" Mbatha's popular Ram Square Tavern in Atteridgeville, Pretoria, is operating illegally, police said yesterday.
Sowetan can reveal that a large contingent of heavily armed police arrived at the busy tavern on Friday night and ordered Mbatha's wife, Yvonne, to close business.
This was confirmed by Nonkululeko Mbatha, spokesperson for National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele.
She said: "The business is unlicensed. Mbatha and his wife were told on October 20 to register the business."
But Mbatha's version was contradicted by Mashobane's close associate, Thlaki Mothabela.
"The place is licensed. If it is not why did they not confiscate the liquor?" he asked.
The incident, which included police allegedly firing stun grenades and rubber bullets, happened just hours after Mashobane, who is applying for bail, was remanded in custody until Friday.
There was a near stampede when scores of Tshwane University of Technology students, who had descended on the place for a party, scrambled for cover.
Mothabela, who had organised the gig, said the raid was a show of might aimed at scaring people off "with the hope that the business would crumble".
He said he intended pressing charges against the officers after he was allegedly assaulted before being locked up.
"They got angry because I was taking pictures of the raid. A Superintendent Naidoo insisted that we end the party."
He said the police ordered everyone to lie down.
"Their excuse for the raid was that people have killed each other at the tavern, but we know that is not true," Mothabela said.
But Mbatha defended the officers, maintaining they acted properly.