The Department of Human Settlements in the Western Cape says extortion is crippling its ability to deliver on housing projects.
The department says there is a pattern of criminality specifically targeting project managers who are approached by networks demanding a cut.
In a recent incident, the department says construction was suspended in Gugulethu after workers were intimidated.
“We thought that by now they would have started with the project, but there is always a shooting, that is sort of a warning sign that those criminals want something from the appointed developer- for the project to go on. So, there is a trend of the same practice happening in different projects we have been observing in the Western Cape. There were four security officers that were shot on the construction site,” says spokesperson Matlhodi Maseko.
In September, the Western Cape public was urged to be aware of several online housing scams.
The Western Cape Human Settlements Department issued a warning after a Cape Town woman paid R2 000 for a “housing approval letter” into the bank account of a fraudster on Facebook who posed as an official of the department.
It said the fraudsters prey on vulnerable residents with empty promises of facilitating approvals for houses, keys and title deeds.