CT police accused of dragging feet in dealing with extortion in city

Concerns are escalating over businesses being targeted by extortion rackets in a number of areas such as Khayelitsha, Bloekombos, Wallacedene and Gugulethu.

Picture: SAPS

CAPE TOWN - The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry has accused the police service of dragging its feet in dealing with extortion and racketeering in Cape Town.

Concerns are escalating over businesses being targeted by extortion rackets in a number of areas such as Khayelitsha, Bloekombos, Wallacedene and Gugulethu.

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

Cape Chamber President Janine Myburgh said that criminals were now demanding protection money from construction sites, foreign-owned businesses and even backyard dwellers who have jobs.

“Combating extortion and racketeering has become critical as gangsters feel immune from the criminal justice system and what seems to be an unmotivated South African Police Services.”

In September, Police Minister Bheki Cele visited businesses in the CBD following concerns over protection rackets which extended to restaurants and coffee shops.

At the time, he announced that a steering committee was being set up to deal with the matter.

Myburgh is urging Cele to deliver on his promise because since then there's been silence.

The City of Cape Town's JP Smith said that he had tried to make contact with the ministry repeatedly regarding the committee that was to be set up.

He said that police stations were then told to review the extortion cases, however, Smith said this was not a targeted approach.

“People don’t lodge these complaints because it’s too risky for the complainants. They are not going to get the results with no intelligence-driven investigation with dedicated resources attached to it.”

Cele stated over the weekend that there was a place to do deal with these crimes.

Download the EWN app to your iOS or Android device.