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Breaking the Bombers by Mark Shaw
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Breaking the Bombers

How the hunt for Pagad created a crack police unit

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Narrator Adrian Galley

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Length 10 hours 37 minutes
Language English
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Summary

‘Mark Shaw is the foremost analyst of organised crime in SA.’ – Jonny Steinberg


At the dawn of the country’s brave new democracy, Cape Town was at war. Pagad, which began as a community protest action against crime, had mutated into a sinister vigilante group wreaking death and destruction across the city. Between 1996 and 2001, there were hundreds of bomb blasts – most infamously at the Planet Hollywood restaurant at the V&A Waterfront – and countless targeted hits on druglords and gang bosses.


The police scrambled desperately to respond. The new ANC government was shaken. Citizens of Cape Town lived in fear. Who could save the city?


Mark Shaw tells the incredible tale of how former foes – struggle cadres and the apartheid security apparatus – pulled together to break the Pagad death squads. Out of this crisis emerged the elite law enforcement unit, the Scorpions.


It is a story that has never been told in full. Now many involved have broken their silence about this pivotal chapter in South Africa’s history, which offers far-reaching lessons on how to deal with organised crime today.

Buy one get one free

This month only!

Become a member and shop our members-only, 10th anniversary buy-one-get-one sale in support of local bookstores.

Get started
Celebrate our 10th Anniversary with giveaways, merch, and more! Learn more