'Extortion mafia' hampers R60m in Cape Town transport projects

A contractor withdrew from the Delft Main Road rehabilitation site after a staff member was shot dead in May. Stock photo.
A contractor withdrew from the Delft Main Road rehabilitation site after a staff member was shot dead in May. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/hxdbzxy

At least seven transport projects worth about R60m are being “hamstrung or halted” due to threats, intimidation and murder by extortion syndicates in Cape Town. 

“Unfortunately, the brazen attempts from these mafia-style extortionists are only intensifying. They are holding to ransom the city and our contractors ... at the expense of service delivery,” the city’s MMC for urban mobility Rob Quintas said on Tuesday. 

“It is completely and utterly unconscionable.” 

Quintas described the extortion syndicates as sophisticated, but added that authorities would not bow to their demands. 

“We naturally have targets for our capital expenditure and it is disappointing to be forcibly prevented from meeting those targets, but we do not negotiate with extortionists and there is simply no rand value for human life,” he said.

Affected projects include: 

  • Construction of MyCiTi depots in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain: Interference with multiple contractors and extortion attempts in May have set the project back by at least three weeks, with R27.4m in unspent capital budget at risk, said the city. 
  • Rehabilitation of Delft Main Road, from Stellenbosch Arterial to Silversands Road in Delft: The contractor withdrew from site after a staff member was shot dead on May 10. A portion of the gravel base of the road has been left exposed to winter rain. Production loss is R13.5m in unspent capital budget. 
  • Upgrading of various roads and associated works in Bishop Lavis;
  • Roads resealing and stormwater repairs project in Delft; and
  • Roads rehabilitation project in Kalksteenfontein: All three projects have been beset by threats and intimidation, and the associated loss of production amounts to R16.9m in unspent capital budget. 
  • Walter Sisulu/Lindela roundabout in Khayelitsha: Threats and extortion attempts have delayed the project by three months, with R600,000 at risk. 
  • Installation of traffic calming measures and footways, including sidewalk and embayment construction, in Brooklyn: The contractor experienced multiple threats and intimidation of staff. On May 17 criminals returned to site, threatened staff and loaded a plate compactor onto a bakkie. About R195,000 is unspent. 


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