Mafias holding the City of Cape Town to ransom

 ·13 Jun 2023

The City of Cape Town says several public projects across the city – worth R58.6 million – are being halted due to threats, intimidation, and outright murder by “mafia-style” extortionists.

According to the city’s mayoral committee member for urban mobility, Rob Quintas, at least seven major projects have been halted due to safety concerns on site, ranging from the construction of new public transport infrastructure to road reconstruction and stormwater maintenance.

The Urban Mobility Directorate prioritises the safety of all road users, and allocates funds for projects to improve mobility and access for pedestrians, public transport users, and motorists, said the city.

“Unfortunately, the brazen attempts from these mafia-style extortionists are only intensifying. They are holding to ransom the City and our contractors, and ultimately, at the expense of service delivery to those who need these services most,” said Quintas.

“We naturally have targets for our capital expenditure, and it is disappointing to be forcibly prevented from meeting those targets, but we do not negotiate with extortionists, and there is simply no rand value for human life,” he added.

Projects that have recently been hamstrung or have fully ground to a halt due to threats, intimidation, and outright murder on-site include the following:

  • Construction of new MyCiTi depots on the corner of Spine Road and Mew Way in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain – extortion attempts have set the project back by at least three weeks with R27.4 million at risk.
  • Rehabilitation of Delft Main Road, from Stellenbosch Arterial to Silversands Road in Delft – The contractor withdrew from the site following the fatal shooting of one of their staff members on 10 May 2023 and loss of production amounts to R16.9 million.
  • Walter Sisulu / Lindela roundabout in Khayelitsha – Threats and extortion attempts have delayed the project by three months with R600 000 at risk.
  • Installation of traffic calming measures and footways, including sidewalk and embayment construction, in Brooklyn – The contractor has suffered multiple threats and instances of intimidation. The criminals also stole valuable equipment from the site for ransom, to the value of approximately R195,000.

“I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the sophisticated extortionist syndicates alongside the opportunistic thugs who care nothing for the lives of the communities we are trying to serve, nor those of the hard-working teams attempting to complete these projects on the ground,” said Quintas.

“The city remains committed to delivering services, and I want to assure these criminals that the city and its contractors will not bow to their ludicrous attempts to syphon public capital into their own pockets,” he added.

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