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Cape Town -
A Camps Bay butler has described how Central City Improvement District (CCID) officers picked him up in Long Street before driving him around for four hours and then demanding payment for his release.
Victor Katekwe, 28, originally from Zimbabwe, said that what was to be a fun night out in the city centre turned into a harrowing experience.
Katekwe said he had gone to a bar in Long Street with a friend. While waiting for a taxi to return to his place of work in Geneva Drive, Camps Bay, he was approached by three CCID officials who put him in their van.
“At first they didn’t tell me why I was taken. It was only when we got to a police vehicle, after four hours of riding around violently, that they told me I was standing in a place where a robbery was committed earlier,” said Katekwe.
He claimed that during the four-hour journey with five other foreigners in the back of the CCID vehicle, one of the officials asked for money for his release.
He said he was threatened that if he did not pay he would remain in the van.
He described how the other men were getting money ready to pay the officers but he decided not to.
“This was a very painful experience and I’m worried because I am scared to go to town as it might happen again. I might lose my job because I have to make sure that I’m at the residence (place of work) at 10pm and I arrived four to five hours later,” said Katekwe.
Tasso Evangelinos, chief operations officer of CCID, said a thorough investigation would take place.
“We will definitely be investigating the incident once we have received the police report and can make a balanced assessment. However, it is highly unlikely that something like this would happen,” said Evangelinos.
Manager for safety and security for the CCID Muneeb Hendricks said it was unlikely that Katekwe had spent up to four hours in the CCID vehicle and said it would have been closer to 30 to 40 minutes as part of the city’s Morpho Touch operation, which was used to identify suspects.
The operation is a joint initiative between the CCID and SAPS which uses mobile touchscreen fingerprint technology to keep an eye on high-risk areas like Long Street.
The technology allows authorities to immediately ascertain if suspects are involved in crime, especially in an area like Long Street.
“The CCID will pick the individual up and take them to a central point where police officials will conduct the fingerprint analysis. It only takes about 30-40 minutes and the individual (Katekwe) was standing in a robbery hot-spot area,” said Hendricks.
Katekwe was due to lay a charge on Sunday.