Zikalala and Cele not addressing the construction mafia threat in Cape Town for political purposes

Issued by Sello Seitlholo MP – DA Shadow Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure
22 Apr 2024 in News

Please find attached a soundbite by Sello Seitlholo MP.

The Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Sihle Zikalala, and the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, are failing to take action against construction mafia syndicates in Cape Town for political expediency despite repeated pleas from the City for urgent intervention.

While the City is working hard to ensure the continued delivery of services to residents across the metro through infrastructure maintenance, roving criminal networks are disrupting construction sights and causing delays in project finalization. In turn, when residents don’t get the services that they are entitled to, they blame the City.

This suits the political agenda of Zikalala, Cele and the ANC as community anger, on delayed infrastructure/service delivery projects, is used for political campaign purposes.

Over the weekend, the City of Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill Lewis, exposed how the City has been forced to provide a tactical armed team on site to complete a sewer and storm water upgrade in one of the communities after disruptions from construction mafia elements.

This is after the South Africa Police Service (SAPS) refused to open a case on the site disruption by the criminal elements. The SAPS in Khayelitsha wanted the construction manager to provide the names of the disruptors first before they could register the case. Essentially, SAPS wants civilians to conduct police investigative work, identify the suspects and present them at the police station for processing.

Indifference from SAPS is what has emboldened construction mafia syndicates to carry out their criminal activities with impunity. At great cost and possible diversion of the city budget, the City of Cape Town is now forced to spend a lot of money on additional security to protect workers at construction sites and keep service delivery projects on track.

Meanwhile, Zikalala and Cele continue to pay lip service to the threat posed by the construction mafia in the City. Zikalala keeps on repeating his fictitious claims of construction mafia arrests while Cele gives false promises to communities on actions that he is taking to fight the scourge. The truth is, they have no incentive to address the crime spree, it serves their political interests well when communities are left stranded without services.

The tragedy is that their indifference is now costing lives and placing significant risk on construction workers who depend on these jobs to feed their families. A city employee, Wendy Kloppers, was murdered in Delft while doing an inspection at a housing construction site in the area.

As Mayor Hill-Lewis has said before, the City of Cape Town will not negotiate with construction mafia syndicates. They are criminals who must be apprehended, prosecuted and jailed for their terrorist activities. The ANC government has failed the people of South Africa on crime and the 29th of May is an important opportunity to rescue our country and put an end to criminal mafias.