Police Minister Bheki Cele says more than 100 people linked to extortion cases in Cape Town have been arrested since members of the community and small business owners raised the alarm over the so-called protection fees last year.
Small business owners who owned restaurants, pubs, and bars, rental stock owners, and informal business owners were all targeted – with the syndicate demanding a percentage of their income.
Cele said a multidisciplinary team encompassing the police, the Hawks, the Western Cape Office of the Premier, the Western Cape departments of Community Safety, Transport and Correctional Services, the Cape Town Law Enforcement Agencies, the Director of Public Prosecutions and Business Against Crime, had made the 106 arrests linked to the extortion possible.
Cele said over the 106 arrests, seven had been granted bail, while the remaining 94 were still in custody.
He also said police had secured a 20-year conviction against Shantel Reynecke, who was convicted on extortion, kidnapping, assault, and human trafficking charges.
“Investigations are ongoing and we are expecting more arrests to take place. The integrated approach and sharing of resources is owed to these arrests.
“But the injection of the 200 police officers seconded from national to this province, as force multipliers in violence-laden hotspots across Cape Town will go a long way in assisting our fight against this crime trend,” said Cele.
Cele said he was pleased by the work of the extortion priority committee after their work began with teething issues.
“I must say I am very impressed with the way in which this steering committee worked together for the benefit of the people of this province.
“While it is a long road ahead for us, we are definitely started walking together on this journey.
“It has been teamwork, I want to extend my appreciation to all the role players for their time and effort and bringing on and board their various skill-sets.
“I believe if we continue on this trajectory, we will squash out extortion,” he said.
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