South Africa: Hits and Highs – South Africa in the Crossfire of Warring Drug Cartels

South Africa has been the scene of a string of startling assassinations over the past few decades, some with possible links to large-scale local and international drug dealing. Cocooned in a thick layer of suspected state collusion, these crime battles are exceptionally difficult and dangerous to properly unravel.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Developing cases and incidents surrounding the murder of South African security contract operative George Darmanovic, who was gunned down in May 2018 in New Belgrade, emphasise just how deeply South Africa is embedded in global organised crime.

Darmanovic’s murder is a pivotal assassination that rocked South Africa’s intelligence community, amplifying the overlaps between this country and Eastern Europe’s underworld. It is likely to remain unsolved after a court case recently fizzled out.

Several sources, with ties to policing, private investigations and who are familiar with the underworld, spoke to DM168 on condition of anonymity, citing safety reasons. They say certain assassinations that have been carried out in South Africa are flashpoints of international crime battles that may be tightly braided into deep-rooted State Capture-type projects, making them exceptionally difficult and dangerous to properly unravel.

Two suspects – Stretan Matejic and Sasa Durdanovic -…

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