Western Cape authorities and the police have announced an integrated plan to clamp down on the extortion of businesses in and around Cape Town.
The announcement preceded the alleged assassination of Cape Town-based Anti-Gang Unit detective, Charl Kinnear. He was instrumental in investigating the criminal underworld, including alleged cases of extortion.
With an array of bars, pubs, clubs and eateries, Long Street is known as the entertainment hub of the inner city. However, businesses here have been facing intimidation, threats and extortion – allegedly by a protection racket which shifted focus from nightclubs, closed for months under COVID-19 lockdown regulations.
Police Minister Bheki Cele says the integrated approach involves the South African Police Service (SAPS), provincial and city law enforcement agencies.
“One of our biggest challenges is the lack of, or reluctance of businesses to open cases of extortion with the police. In order to allow us to act decisively against this situation, we need businesses to register cases with us. We have directed the SAPS provincial management particularly, the detectives, to act speedily to cases registered with us. This is an assurance I’m giving to affected businesses today that these cases will be prioritised,” says Cele.
Cele says all agencies must work in tandem in order to secure convictions against organised crime syndicates.
Top cop gunned down on the Cape Flats:
Local authorities have pledged to work with their national counterparts.
“There are things we can do to help and we will do, we will assist, we have particular resources in terms of CCTV footage and additional staff we can deploy in hotspots,” says Cape Town MMC for Safety and Security JP Smith.
Investigation into murder of top cop
Meanwhile, a multi-disciplinary investigation including the Hawks, anti-gang unit and crime intelligence has been activated to probe Kinnear’s shooting. The veteran top cop was shot and killed outside his home in Bishop Lavis on the Cape Flats last Friday. While a motive for the killing has not yet been confirmed, it’s believed that his murder was a result of his probes into the criminal underworld.
Just days before he was gunned down, a plan was announced to address the growing issue of extortion of businesses in and around Cape Town.
“This team is seized with investigating and ensuring that the suspects are brought to book. There are no arrests at this stage but our joint team is working around the clock to ensure that the suspect is arrested,” says Hawks Spokesperson Colonel Philane Nkwalase.
Non-governmental Organisation (NGO), Forensics for Justice, has offered a R1 million reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of whoever is behind Kinnear’s killing.
Police Minister Bheki Cele visits home of Charl Kinnear