‘Enough is enough’: Cape Town mayor launches campaign to combat the demand for protection fees

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'Enough is enough': Cape Town mayor launches campaign to combat the demand for protection fees
'Enough is enough': Cape Town mayor launches campaign to combat the demand for protection fees

Africa-Press – South-Africa. The mayor of Cape Town, Geordin Hill-Lewis, unveiled a new campaign to combat persistent extortion and the relentless demand for protection fees.

The rallying cry for the campaign is: “Enough Is Enough!”.

On Thursday, Hill-Lewis launched the campaign at an extortion-impacted project to construct new MyCiTi depots in Khayelitsha.

The construction of the new MyCiTi depots in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain has faced multiple extortion attempts since May.

The R60-million project has been set back by several weeks.

Increased attacks by the so-called extortion mafia on construction workers at major building projects are impacting multimillion-rand projects across the metro.

In February, a City official, Wendy Kloppers, was shot and killed at a housing project in Delft.

Kloppers, from Kuils River, worked at the City’s environmental affairs department.

Her family believes she was mistaken for a woman who had received a construction tender from the City.

As part of the campaign, the City has set up a 24-hour hotline and a rewards system to encourage residents to help the City and the authorities tackle extortion.

“Demands for ‘protection fees’ from local extortionists are impeding both basic service delivery and major infrastructure projects. We are determined to prevent disruptions to services by partnering with communities as our eyes and ears to root out local extortionists and paying out cash rewards for valuable tip-offs leading to arrest and prosecution,” Hill-Lewis said.

According to the City, a total of R110 million in human settlement project work has been impacted by extortionists.

“Law enforcement is regularly escorting City teams and contractors on request in hotspot areas, and additional project security requirements have been built into project contracts. Our staff and contractors are under instruction to make sure that any extortion attempts are reported to authorities every single time, so that we build a case record and push back against the criminals harming the interests of communities.

“Extortion is large-scale organised crime run by well-oiled and very lucrative syndicates. The only way to stand up for ourselves is to stand together against these criminals,” the mayor said.

“We believe that local extortionists are well-known in their communities and that there are enough people out there with information to help us arrest those responsible. Importantly, tip-offs can be anonymous, and residents can report information in good conscience that they are not endangering themselves or their families.”

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