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Armed escorts budget for City of Cape Town water and sanitation staff increased after recent robberies

Two water and sanitation members held at gunpoint in Philippi East on Sunday. File Picture: Screengrab/City of Cape Town

Two water and sanitation members held at gunpoint in Philippi East on Sunday. File Picture: Screengrab/City of Cape Town

Published Feb 1, 2022


Cape Town - The City of Cape Town says the increase and frequency of attacks on its staff have required it to review and increase its budget allocated for armed escorts.

This as mugging of staff continues unabated with the latest incident involving two water and sanitation members held at gunpoint in Philippi East on Sunday.

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The two workers were responding to an overflowing sewage request at Myezo Drive when two armed assailants held them at gunpoint and made off with their belongings, including cellphones and wallets, and hijacked a Nissan double cab bakkie.

This while the City is in the process of establishing a new law enforcement unit that will focus on the protection of service delivery teams, facilities and infrastructure.

The incident also follows several robberies and attacks which the City had recorded last year with seven vehicles hijacked between May and October in different areas.

On January 18 staff and contractors overseeing a water supply project were held up at gunpoint and robbed of personal belongings, tools and a City-hired bakkie in Monwabisi Park.·

On January 28 in Tambo Village, Manenberg, a maintenance team of four members were approached by criminals and robbed at gunpoint of their personal belongings.

The following day, a bakkie belonging to a City contractor was taken at gunpoint at C-section, Eyethu, in Khayelitsha.

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A day after that, operational staff were approached by a group of men and were held at gunpoint in Site C, Khayelitsha.

On February 2 in Philippi, staff were robbed of their personal belongings during their journey home from work.

Philippi East CPF chairperson Neo Motinyane said the City's lack of response to service requests when there was no escort was a justification for not serving and servicing their areas.

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“When this happened, the sewage truck had no escort and this being something that the City has known for years that in hot spot areas law enforcement or police must accompany these workers.

“Already four years back we had been told that the trucks were getting robbed but just this morning the trucks were again working in the same area without an escort,” he said.

Water and Sanitation Mayco member Zahid Badroodien said where there is a safety risk in an area teams were accompanied by law enforcement based on their availability, or an arrangement was made with a ward councillor or neighbourhood watch.

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However, Badroodien said given the need to respond to sewer blockages quickly, teams at times took the risk of not being accompanied.

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Cape Argus