Police are investigating the second invasion of a construction site in Bedfordview by a company that has been accused of using intimidation to muscle in on work.
The invasion happened last week and it is alleged that a firearm was pointed at an employee.
The group apparently came to the site demanding to have a meeting with the owners.
The construction company that was targeted is building residential housing in Bedfordview.
A member of the Bedfordview community police forum, (CPF) who was called to the construction site last week when the incident happened, said that the men walked onto the property and caused work to stop. The police were called.
“The moment the cops left they came back,” said the CPF member, who didn’t want to be named. “They just barge onto the site and they are as obnoxious as anything.”
The company the owners said was responsible for the incident is Phindani Trading & Projects, based in Malvern East.
It is owned by Mxolisi Phindani. When approached for comment, Phindani refused to talk to the Saturday Star. He did, however, say he was meeting with the owner of the construction company next week.
The Saturday Star ran an article about the first time Phindani and his colleagues allegedly invaded the same site.
Last week, Phindani allegedly warned employees of the construction company that they should not have gone to the press.
Phindani also told the Saturday Star that he was considering legal action against the paper.
Previously Phindani had said to the Saturday Star that they wanted a tiling subcontract from the company.
Captain Andre de Jager, spokesperson for the Bedfordview police station, said two cases had been opened. “One is for intimidation, and the other is for malicious damage to property. Our detectives are investigating.”
The Bedfordview CPF advised the owners of the company to use the opened cases to obtain a restraining order against Phindani and his company.
The tactics used by Phindani Trading & Projects, said Bedfordview councillor Jill Humphreys, were similar to those used by the so-called construction mafia.
Their method is to demand a cut of a project by claiming that part of the contract has to go to a locally based construction company. They claim their demand is politically motivated and say they are working within the framework of Radical Economic Transformation.
If a construction company doesn’t comply they threaten to vandalise the project through sabotage and work stoppages.
What is concerning for the Bedfordview CPF is that this crime appears to be targeting private businesses.
“This is something that we can’t allow to get a foothold in our suburb,” said the CPF member.
Humphreys said she knew of fellow councillors across Ekurhuleni who had received death threats from the construction mafia.