Police minister Bheki Cele has announced the establishment of a steering committee to tackle alleged extortion of businesses. Picture: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)
Police minister Bheki Cele has announced the establishment of a steering committee to tackle alleged extortion of businesses. Picture: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)

Cele announces steering committee to curb extortion of Cape businesses

By Odwa Mkentane Time of article published Sep 17, 2020

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Cape Town - Police minister Bheki Cele has announced the establishment of a steering committee to tackle alleged extortion of businesses, including restaurants and coffee shops in the city and surrounding areas, saying more resources would also be added to address the issue.

Cele said he had been alerted about criminals demanding protection money from businesses and that an integrated response action plan was to be developed, to ensure an equitable injection of resources for an effective, proactive and reactive approach to the problem.

The committee would involve all levels of government, said Cele.

“I know that the City of Cape Town and the rest of the country are currently under tremendous economic pressure, as the result of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. While we are trying to revive the economy of the country, these allegations are emerging that thugs and criminals are exacerbating the situation by demanding protection money from legitimate businesses.

“We certainly can not allow this to happen under our watch. We have ended a meeting I had with MECs, in agreement that we will approach the situation in an integrated manner.

“Between SAPS national office and provincial office, and provincial government, as well as businesses around the City, we will integrate our human and physical resources to ensure that businesses can operate in a safe and secured environment,” said Cele.

Beer House founder Randolf Jorberg, who has been vocal on the matter, said: “I saw a delegation issuing a statement in front of my beer house on Long street, a very strong statement was made and delivered, that seemed to show a new unity where – for the first time in the history of our beautiful country – forces want to work together to eradicate the issue of gangsterism and racketeering. I Am incredibly happy to hear about this.

“I also say that this is obviously now about delivering, not only issuing statements, and I will be watching the developments very carefully. I hope that there will be delivery on the words and I do hope that politics are left aside and the country unites to fight gangsterism.”

Among those at the meeting were community safety MEC Albert Fritz and safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith.

“The City has been under pressure to act swiftly against extortion,” said Smith. “The hot spots of this are mainly around the CBD and Woodstock.

“In the city, we are beginning to receive complaints and this is a very serious case.”

Cape Times

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