City of Cape Town spent R8.5m on private security escorts

Mayco member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien.

Mayco member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien.

Published May 21, 2024


The City spent R8.5 million on private security escorts to help protect staff while they delivered services to communities in the last year.

Water and sanitation staff have been the targets of 22 hijackings and 52 robberies since July last year.

“Threats to staff safety endanger employees and disrupt service delivery to our residents, potentially affecting community health and well-being, as well as causing emotional trauma to staff.

“Staff are unable to access certain areas due to safety concerns, leading to delays in maintenance and repairs, and compromising the quality of the service,” the City said on Monday.

Since July 1, 2023, the teams have faced 22 hijackings –seven in Khayelitsha, six in Philippi and three in Mfuleni – and 52 robberies, of which 16 have been at gunpoint.

Six robberies have been reported in Khayelitsha, three each in Blue Downs and Philippi, and two each in Strand, Gugulethu, Fisantekraal, Athlone, and Bishop Lavis. Stolen items included cellphones, watches, 12 meter reading devices, 14 tablets and PPE essential for field operations.

“Despite the directorate’s commitment to maintaining services, the safety of personnel cannot be compromised.

Entering these areas without adequate protection and support exposes staff to risks. This situation has led to the City spending over R8.5 million on private security escorts in the 2023/24 financial year alone.”

In April, two security contractor personnel escorting City staff in Philippi’s Phola Park were shot and killed.

On May 17, one of two private security escorts, who were guarding a sewer pump station in Athlone while an electrical contractor was working at the facility, was also shot dead.

“Residents are assured every effort is made to prioritise the safety of our staff, service delivery and the well-being of our residents who are massively inconvenienced and affected by this criminal and opportunistic behaviour. We are working closely with local law enforcement and private security to ensure safe passage for our teams.

“However, securing their support depends on their availability so it can temporarily delay our operations and it means at times that we are not able to respond as soon as we want,” said Mayco member for water and sanitation Zahid Badroodien.

Anonymously report extortion by contacting 0800 00 6992 or email: [email protected]

Cape Times