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City of Cape Town Seeks Court Relief Amid Construction Mafia Intimidation

Published March 14, 2024
2 months ago

In an unfolding development that pits community interests against urban progress, the City of Cape Town has taken decisive legal steps to combat ongoing intimidation by a group dubbed the 'construction mafia', culminating in a standoff with potential consequences for public transport infrastructure.

The fracas began when unauthorized individuals – allegedly from local 'community development' forums – halted the construction of a new MyCiti bus station situated between Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain, threatening workers and forcing a cessation of all activities at the site along AZ Berman Drive.

These entities have been accused of using extortion tactics, demanding meetings with the city's officials, and threatening to destroy construction machinery if their undisclosed requests are not met. This severe threat prompted the construction company to withdraw its equipment, citing staff safety concerns.

Rob Quintas, Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Urban Mobility, has publicly condemned the actions of these groups, highlighting the ongoing effort by the city to secure an interdict from the Western Cape High Court to prevent further interference with the project.

The legal action – an interdict application set to be filed this week – represents the city's commitment to resisting what Quintas describes as "predatory behaviour" and its determination to continue providing much-needed services to the community. The application includes substantial evidence to uphold the city's position against these acts of intimidation and disruption.

Local residents, such as 43-year-old Laura Jacobson, have expressed frustration over the stalled progress, emphasizing the detriment this has on daily commuters who heavily rely on efficient and functional public transport.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis' previous visit to the Spine Road Depot in 2023 underscored his stance against such disruptions, signifying the administration's dedication to overcoming these challenges to municipal projects. The mayor's office reiterated that the city will not engage in "money-making schemes" under duress, maintaining that service delivery to the communities remains a paramount objective.

As the City of Cape Town braces for a legal battle to protect its infrastructure development, the outcome of this court action may well set a precedent for how municipalities can handle similar confrontations in the future.

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