Report extortion, Western Cape safety MEC Albert Fritz urges residents
Western Cape MEC for community safety Albert Fritz has urged communities to report extortion to the police.
The Cape Town metro has experienced a wave of extortion recently. Formal businesses in the city CBD and women selling chicken trotters in Khayelitsha have not been spared.
Fritz made the call to mark international anti-corruption day. He said he was pleased with the work of a priority committee on organised crime and extortion. The multisectoral committee was convened for the first time by police minister Bheki Cele on November 13.
The committee meets “on a weekly basis and numerous operations are being carried out with dedicated resources being made available to focus on extortion-related cases”, said Fritz.
“Various sectors have opened cases which will be tracked by the department of community safety. Additionally, the National Prosecuting Authority has indicated that they are prioritising these cases for prosecution.”
Fritz said extortion has to be stopped to restore the economic wellbeing of communities.
“I encourage members of the public to open cases to ensure that perpetrators are brought to book and that the dignity and economic wellbeing of our communities is restored,” he said.
“Anyone with information on extortion in the province, or who has been approached to pay protection fees, can anonymously report this to the police, on the SAPS extortion hotline by calling 021-466-0011. We must ensure that these cases are reported so that SAPS can investigate.
“I welcome the transversal manner in which SAPS, City of Cape Town and the Western Cape government are working together to address the spates of organised crime and extortion that have been reported in recent weeks.
“Too many of our small businesses and citizens have expressed concern, from our CBD to our peri-urban communities, on this matter and we must take every step possible to stop it.”
Fritz said extortion rackets should be stopped as they threated the economy in the province.
“We cannot sit idly and allow criminal syndicates and racketeers to threaten business in our province, particularly as we approach the festive season and try to revive our economy.
“Reports have shown that gangs are targeting our community members, transport services, local businesses, early childhood development centres, and even government officials. The threat of extortion is a threat to the state and its institutions. It is simply unacceptable and each of us has a duty to put a stop to it.”