Police have made a breakthrough in the deadly protection rackets terrorising the townships with the arrest of four alleged gang members on Wednesday.
On Monday, a businessman opened a case with the Mfuleni police after the suspects threatened him and his family.
Police say they demanded a substantial amount of money from the complainant, who then made the payment.
Police spokesperson Captain FC van Wyk said they followed up on the complaint and managed to arrest the suspects.
“SAPS investigators and members attached to the station’s gang unit made a breakthrough in the case and arrested four of the alleged gang members,” he said.
“The male suspects, aged 21, 31, 34 and 44, from the Wesbank area will appear in the Blue Downs Magistrates’ Court (today) on extortion charges.”
Gangs identified as the Guptas and the Boko-Haram are said to be running the extortion rings and carrying out shootings related to extortion in at least five major townships in Cape Town.
Police launched a special hotline as more and more business owners came forward to report incidents of extortion, intimidation and shootings.
Van Wyk adds: “Through proper pamphlet distribution and informative efforts by SAPS members and their community policing partners in the Mfuleni policing precinct, people have come to learn the seriousness and negative impact extortion has on communities.
“It has become clearer by the day through a number of media reports how businesses and residents are experiencing extortion from gangsters.”
He said that police are urging the public to come forward in reporting similar extortion cases. They can report these crimes anonymously by phoning the SAPS Extortion Hotline on 021 466 0011 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111, says Van Wyk.