MEC Fritz writes to Minister Cele on meeting with extortion steering committee
The Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, has written to the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, urgently requesting that the transversal steering committee on organised crime and extortion in the province be convened and meet.
Minister Fritz previously met with Minister Cele at the Provincial SAPS Headquarters on 16 September 2020 following a spate of gang and extortion-related shootings in the province. The meeting was further attended by Deputy Minister Mathale, National Commissioner General Sitole and Alderman Smith.
Minister Fritz said, “It was agreed that two complementary, but separate committees would be formed. The first committee was the “Safer City” committee which is a SAPS initiative focusing on safety in all metros across the country. This committee was established prior to the meeting.”
Subsequently, representatives from the Department of the Premier and Department of Community Safety have attended and will attend the second meeting of the committee where among other issues, extortion will be discussed, and feedback provided on the current active reported cases and scheduled operations.
Minister Fritz added, “The second committee was a specific transversal steering committee to be set up and convened by SAPS. It would draw in the province, City, SAPS, NPA, SARS and other relevant stakeholders to specifically address the issue of extortion in the province. At the end of the meeting, names were provided by the City of Cape Town and Provincial Government of officials who would attend the first meeting of this committee. This steering committee to address the issue of extortion has never met and has not been convened.”
Minister Fritz continued, “While I am pleased with the progress made through the Safer City committee, it is very concerning that we have not yet convened or met through the transversal steering committee on organised crime and extortion. However, the efforts of the Safer City Committee alone are not enough to address the spate of extortion and gang-related shootings that we have seen in past weeks. Among these was the gruesome shooting in Gugulethu which killed eight on Monday, 2 November.”
Minister Fritz continued further, “Reports have shown that the “Guptas” and the “Boko Haram” gangs in townships such as Gugulethu, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Philippi East, and formerly ‘coloured’ townships are targeting our community members, local businesses, ECDs, and even government officials. It is for this reason that I am calling on Minister Cele to urgently convene this steercom and ensure it meets.”