Cape Town - A new fibre installation subcontractor has stepped in to complete a networking project in Bishop Lavis, which almost collapsed as a result of extortion claims. This is after a community meeting that was held on Tuesday on the matter.
The initial contractor pulled out of the area after fears of extortion, following threats it received from extortionists from the area.
Bishop Lavis CPF chairperson Graham Lindhorst said twenty more positions had now been provided for people in the community, on top of the 30 that were initially employed in the project.
“A second contract was introduced to us, as the CPF, who then promised that he would finish the job and assured us nothing will happen. We asked him if he had any connections with the extortionists, to which he said no. The new subcontractor has brought quite a lot of their workers because they need some sort of speciality.
“The workers that they brought, we are told, know how to dig the trenches which need to be a certain depth, as well as a certain width, which we believe don't require a certain skill or a qualification,” he said.
Lindhorst said, initially, the project was expected to conclude in six weeks, however, with the current subcontractor, they were told it would take longer.
“The contractor is not as efficient as the first one. They are now looking at two months or even three months. But they haven't committed to anything because they need to see whether those people will be able to do what they normally do and whether they will stick to the project, as some people come in one day and then leave,” Lindhorst said.
He said, following the Tuesday community meeting, a resolution was taken to convene a Safety Imbizo next month.
Ward councillor Charles Esau said he was relieved that the contractor was willing to complete the project, as this was a much-needed service in the area.
“For me and the community, it is important that the project continues. This has been a service that we have been waiting for as a community, especially with the pandemic, and the need to work and study from home.
“This an opportunity we cannot take for granted and we are hoping that this will yield more developments – where companies would be motivated to come and invest in the community,” he said.
Police encourage victims of extortion to report these to the extortion hotline on 021 466 0011.