Cape Chamber: Several Cape Town businesses being extorted by gangsters

In recent weeks, community leaders and business owners in various areas including the city centre, Gugulethu, and Khayelitsha have raised the alarm over protection rackets.

Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry logo. Picture: Facebook.

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Monday said there was evidence that many Cape Town businesses were being extorted.

“Combatting extortion and racketeering in Greater Cape Town has become critical as gangsters feel immune from the criminal justice system and what seems to be an unmotivated South African Police Service (SAPS),” the chamber said in a statement.

It added: “Extorting protection money from small businesses in swathes of the City has become so lucrative, so easy, and its consequences so remote, that criminals have expanded their threats to ordinary people with jobs.”

In recent weeks, community leaders and business owners in various areas including the city centre, Gugulethu, and Khayelitsha have raised the alarm over protection rackets.

Last week, police confirmed extortion was being probed as a possible motive in a mass shooting in Gugulethu in which eight people were killed and one person was wounded.

“Figures kept by the City of Cape Town show a dramatic rise in what amounts to a form of urban terrorism. Cases of extortion have expanded beyond businesses in the central business district to areas such as Khayelitsha, Bloekombos, Wallacedene, and Gugulethu,” the chamber said.

The organisation said gangsters were also holding public and private transport to ransom as well as demanding protection money from construction sites.

“There is evidence of a growing reign of terror. Gangsters have taken to holding public and private transport to ransom. Some are now demanding protection money from construction sites. Protection money is being extorted from foreign-owned businesses and even backyard dwellers who have jobs.”

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.