‘I’m not a gangster,’ local man says

A STATION Hill resident came to Talk of the Town last week, appealing that he stop being labelled as a gangster by his community.

Mario van Rooyen, who heard from a friend in the Port Alfred SAPS that he had been mentioned in “another” article about an alleged gang-related attack on Philasande Jam-Jam two weeks ago, said he approached TotT to set the record straight.

However, when he learned that he had not been named in the article published two editions ago, Van Rooyen said the implication was that he was somehow involved. He was invited to give his version of events.

“I have never been in prison, never went to prison, and I don’t do drugs,” Van Rooyen said.

Vicious assault linked to alleged gangster activity

According to Van Rooyen, Jam-Jam had been arrested for charges laid against him and his “cronies” who allegedly stabbed an associate of van Rooyen’s and held another at gunpoint. Police have confirmed that both Jam-Jam and his alleged attacker laid charges against each other and both have appeared in court, with their cases postponed.

[pullquote]Van Rooyen maintains that it was in helping the police in finding and retrieving the stolen firearm that the feud began.[/pullquote]

Van Rooyen maintains that there is a personal vendetta against him by the community, and said it began when he helped the police find a stolen firearm.

“The police asked me to help me get the gun that was stolen from a Sky Alarms employee, and the holster was found in Jam-Jam’s possession,” Van Rooyen said.

Van Rooyen maintains that it was in helping the police in finding and retrieving the stolen firearm that the feud began.

“The same gun was used in the shooting of Gershwill Swartbooi. This thing starts there,” Van Rooyen said, revealing the story which led to the stabbing of Jam-Jam.

Van Rooyen said the case regarding the shooting of Swartbooi was withdrawn, and he wondered why.

Van Rooyen said his mechanic and panel beating businesses had been detrimentally affected by persistent allegations in the few years he has been living in Port Alfred, and he wished it would stop.

Hijacking near Port Alfred, goods recovered by Uitenhage police

He said the community needed to consider who actually had a criminal record, and it was not him. He said the real gangsters were deflecting blame.

Responding to TotT’s queries regarding the Swartbooi shooting, police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender said: “The cases that have been withdrawn were done at court and not by the SAPS. For comments on this the National Prosecuting Authority must be contacted.”

As for the other cases involving Jam-Jam, she said: “Mr Van Rooyen is urged to report his concerns on the SAPS in writing so that an internal investigation can be launched.

“As the case is still at court, the SAPs will not offer any comment on this matter,” Captain Govender said.