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City’s SSIU offers assistance to SAPS and PRASA in bid to tackle extortion<p>The City of Cape Town's (CCT) Safety and Security Directorate is under increasing pressure to respond to complaints about extortion and kidnapping for ransom. The City has offered assistance through the Safety and Security Investigation Unit (SSIU). </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The public is in desperate need of protection against extortion syndicates operating from Long Street through to Khayelitsha.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The increasing prevalence of kidnapping cases is sowing panic in our communities and we all need to do more to assist. As an immediate intervention to the growing extortion cases, the City has directly contacted the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to offer assistance through our SSIU. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">As a government that cares deeply about its residents, we are constantly looking at ways to keep Cape Town safe. Among its other functions, the SSIU also assists SAPS and City enforcement agencies with "watching briefs," which is the monitoring and tracking of registered criminal cases through the courts. This is where we are offering our expertise with regard to extortion cases.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Thanks to the work of the SSIU, we have been able to:</strong></p><ul><li>recover 30 hijacked council vehicles between 2021 and 2022</li><li>achieve 2 920 convictions alongside City enforcement agencies and the South African Police Service (SAPS) between 2016 and 2021</li><li>conduct watching briefs for more than 23 000 arrests made by City enforcement staff for the possession of drugs, driving while under the influence, the possession of firearms and ammunition</li><li>achieve a large number of meaningful convictions for drug, firearm, copper theft, robbery, extortion and even assisting with Interpol investigations leading to the capture of wanted persons.</li></ul><p style="text-align:justify;">Around the world, the state responds to such complex and syndicated crime by establishing integrated task teams bringing together the skills and information of different agencies and spheres of government and their respective staff seconded thereto.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In looking for a more integrated solution, I have also written to the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, to ask for his intervention in establishing separate fully-fledged extortion and kidnapping task teams between SAPS, Western Cape Government and CCT, wherein the City and Provincial officials are engaged as full participants and are allowed to contribute to crime intelligence, arrests and operations as well as working with specialist prosecutors assigned by the NPA to the task team, to achieve convictions.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the past, the City pleaded with SAPS to establish an extortion task team and after more than a year delay, a regular meeting is now being convened where the City and Provincial staff play no other role other than listening to some statistical reports on extortion complaints received by the various SAPS stations.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">There is no meaningful operational contribution and no meaningful assistance being asked from the City despite our ongoing efforts to assist and add value.  When the substantive information is reported at these "Extortion Task Team" (or "priority committee") meetings, the City staff are required to leave the meeting.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The City by virtue of its regular local government functions and increasingly through the operations of its specialised units is increasingly in possession of pertinent information and able to support SAPS in responding to kidnappings and extortion cases and play an active and operational role in interdicting these crimes and ensuring that convictions take place. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Residents can report crime, including extortion, kidnapping and by-law offences anonymously, 24-hours a day, on <strong>0800 110077.</strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;">All information is welcomed, but a reward can only be paid if the City's policing resources achieve an operational result that directly relates to information received, like (an) arrest/s, confiscation of contraband or illegal firearms, recovery of stolen goods, the rescue of a kidnapped victim, etc.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tips received by the dedicated tip-off line are relayed to the relevant City agency. Once they have made an arrest/confiscation, etc. they will submit the application for consideration by the Rewards for Information Committee. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">We do have to caution the public that it could take several weeks or months after the arrest or confiscation is made for the reward to be paid out, once all relevant administrative processes have been completed. The system is NOT open to people under the age of 18 or City of Cape Town employees.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> </p><p><strong>End</strong></p><p><br></p>2022-08-31T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891d;GP0|#904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7;L0|#0904f8ac3-ad18-4896-a9a8-86feb1d4a1b7|StatementsGP0|#633591e2-ed41-4816-9750-3d5f5090deda;L0|#0633591e2-ed41-4816-9750-3d5f5090deda|illegal activity;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#550cea01-5fec-45fb-8509-f49cfc36c0e0;L0|#0550cea01-5fec-45fb-8509-f49cfc36c0e0|Safety;GP0|#684fa0e4-3901-467f-9bab-6f6995dc8f93;L0|#0684fa0e4-3901-467f-9bab-6f6995dc8f93|kidnapping victim10

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