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03
DEC
1am

The Fight Is On: Ramaphosa intends to challenge the Ngcobo Panel Report

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s consultations with supporters and stakeholders have led to a decision to challenge the scathing Section 89 Independent Panel report.
A National Executive Committee (NEC) source told Daily Maverick that President Cyril Ramaphosa was surrounded by his close allies when he made the decision not to take the outcomes of the Section 89 Independent Panel lying down. The likes of NEC member Derek Hannekom and party head of elections Fikile Mbalula were said to be by his side when he made the final call.
The president’s circle has been against him resigning despite the seriousness of the allegations which have been levelled against him.
A presidency source confirmed the news.
A flawed report and dangerous precedents – why President Cyril Ramaphosa should not resign
If Ramaphosa were to step down, many of his allies who have been part of his executive, including Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana and Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, would also lose.
ANC NEC member and Water and Sanitation Minister Senzo Mchunu is one of the senior ANC members who told Daily Maverick that Ramaphosa should rather allow processes to play out and avoid acting with haste.
In an interview on Thursday, Mchunu said: “President Cyril Ramaphosa should be given space to apply himself. What emerges from here will determine what he says to the NEC and nation.”
Ramaphosa’s decision comes amid a failed ANC NEC meeting which was supposed to take place on Friday afternoon. While the members gathered at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Soweto, the president was still in Cape Town leading to the adjournment of the meeting.
In addition to this, the organisation’s treasurer general Paul Mashatile said the meeting was called without an official report from the top 6 officials and National Working Committee (NWC), which is procedurally incorrect.
Summoned and frustrated: ANC NEC’s meeting cut short after Ramaphosa’s no-show
Ramaphosa has been under fire since the outcomes of the Section 89 Independent Panel were leaked to the public. Calls for him to resign come as the panel led by retired Judge Sandile Ncgobo found that there is prima facie evidence that he may have violated the Constitution and may have abused his powers.
The panel said he has a case to answer. This could pave the way for his possible impeachment, a charge which has been led by some opposition parties in Parliament.
The report particularly pointed out that Ramaphosa could be guilty of breaching ...
02
DEC
11am

Summoned and frustrated: ANC NEC’s meeting cut short after Ramaphosa’s no-show

The ANC National Executive Committee meeting called to discuss the scathing Section 89 Independent Panel on Phala Phala came to an abrupt end after party president Cyril Ramaphosa did not pitch.
It was one of the party’s shortest gatherings. The ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that was supposed to take place this morning at the Nasrec Expo Centre.
About 80 members of the ANC’s highest decision-making structures between conferences met. But an hour into the meeting, they realised that their own leader would not be joining the discussions.
Speaking to the media, ANC Treasurer General Paul Mashatile said the meeting was called without an official report from the top six officials and National Working Committee, which is procedurally incorrect.
A President not present
Mashatile could not account for why the President was not present, but said he was “consulting” and was still in Cape Town. He also said the meeting was called with haste because the matter concerning the panel report was urgent and needed to be attended to as soon as possible.
“The NEC of the ANC should be given the report of Phala Phala from the Chief Whip. However, the NEC decided that the report should be given to the officials of the ANC first and they must process it, convene a National Working Committee (NWC), then convene an NEC before 6th December. So between tomorrow and Sunday we will do all that,” said Mashatile.
For now, Mashatile confirmed that there would have been no solid plans regarding the President’s possible resignation.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary general Bheki Mtolo spoke to journalists on the sidelines of the adjourned meeting. He believes Ramaphosa should make “the right decision” about whether or not he will resign.
“It must be a decision that must not drag this thing until 2024, be it in court or Parliament.
“I think this was something unprecedented because we thought we were called into the NEC meeting because officials have sat and reflected on the matter, and of course went to the NWC. When we came here we discovered that those processes were not followed. It was a waste of time and South Africans are waiting for the ANC to have a view and give direction,” he said.
Read more in Daily Maverick: Report handover to Parliament — Ramaphosa denies Constitution violations, Arthur Fraser’s allegations
President Cyril Ramaphosa has been under fire since the outcome of the Section 89 Independent Panel was leaked to the public. Calls for ...
02
DEC
9am

Archbishop and fellow clergy says S89 report on Ramaphosa farm merely the start of a long process

Anglican Archbishop says the panel report is merely the start of a long process and that passing judgement before final determination could spark ‘lawlessness in South Africa’.
South Africa should not be denied the practice of its constitutional processes in responding to the Section 89 (S89) independent panel report on the burglary that took place at President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Phala Phala farm in February 2020, according to the South African Council of Churches (Sacc).
In a statement released on Friday, the council pointed out that the panel report was only the first step in a long process that could determine whether the President would be impeached.
“The Parliamentary system will involve due processes that include a Parliamentary Impeachment Committee, wherein proper evidence would be led,” stated the Sacc.
“The wider powers of the Parliamentary Committee to investigate this matter more deliberately, where the President can defend himself, will hopefully bring in the evidence that may have been gathered by [the South African Revenue Service] and other relevant investigating institutions. It is this due process that our Constitution envisages in difficult situations such as these.”
The S89 report — handed to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Wednesday, 30 November — found that Ramaphosa had an impeachment case to answer over serious violations of the Constitution.
In the eye of the storm: Inside the report that might sink Cyril Ramaphosa
The Sacc described the S89 report as a “watershed moment for our constitutional democracy”.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
“This panel report is a significant starting point of the National Assembly to entrench its constitutional responsibility of oversight over the executive and holding it to account. For our Constitution places no one or office beyond public accountability.”
The council urged members of the ANC national executive committee to debate the matters around the report without viewing each other in a factional light.
Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba also weighed in on the S89 report on Friday. He emphasised that while no person is above the law, passing judgement on the basis of a preliminary investigation before final determination of the facts could lead to “lawlessness in South Africa”.
“The vast majority of South Africans want to see our political leaders dealing with their problems such as load shedding and joblessness urgently, and are probably getting impatient with seeing a governing party at war with itself,” said Makgoba.
“If the President loses the political support of his party before a ...
02
DEC
7am

Ace’s advocate formed part of Section 89 Ramaphosa impeachment panel – does it matter?

Advocate Mahlape Sello also acted for the Presidency. Should she have stood down from the panel?
Advocate Mahlape Sello acted for suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule in a “lawfare” against President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2021, it has emerged.
This raises questions about whether she should have stepped down from the Section 89 panel which has said Ramaphosa may have breached the Constitution and may be eligible for a parliamentary impeachment inquiry.
Sello was appointed to the panel by National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in September 2022, after UCT professor of law Richard Calland stepped down. Calland faced a perception of bias because some of his writing had been favourable to Ramaphosa.
Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said the Speaker’s Office conducted all necessary checks on all panel members before their appointment, and was satisfied that there would be no perception of bias or conflict of interest.
Asked by Daily Maverick if she should have declined the appointment or stood down for the same reason, Sello said: “The panel, having completed its jobs without you having raised this before, is highly inappropriate. I have no comment.”
Sello was a member of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule’s legal team when he challenged his suspension in the Johannesburg High Court last year.
The team – which included Advocate Dali Mpofu SC – sought not only to have Magashule’s suspension reversed, but also to have his own letter of suspension issued against President Cyril Ramaphosa validated, according to an EWN report. Magashule also wanted the ANC’s step-aside Rule 25.7 in its constitution to be declared unconstitutional.
Magashule was suspended on 3 May 2021, after which he unilaterally drafted and dispatched a midnight letter of suspension against Ramaphosa on 5 May 2021.
Read in Daily Maverick: “Magashule’s attempted midnight suspension of Ramaphosa was flawed and dishonest, court hears”
The letter stated that Ramaphosa had been reported to the Serious Offences Directorate and that the matter of sealed documents relating to his CR17 campaign prior to and during the ANC national conference was pending before the courts, according to a News24 report.
In arguments, Sello also raised questions about Ramaphosa’s campaign fundraising for his 2017 bid for the ANC Presidency and the allegations of corruption against him.
“The first respondent [Ramaphosa] does not deny that this matter has been referred to the Serious Offences Directorate, involving amounts on the first respondent’s version of R300-million. He has said before the State Capture commission that he’s had the number R1-billion bandied ...
02
DEC
1am

A flawed report and dangerous precedents – why President Cyril Ramaphosa should not resign

The Independent Panel looking into the Phala Phala matter has failed to deliver a report of the necessary impeccable quality and credibility. For the President to leave office on the basis of this flawed report would be plainly unjust and, moreover, would set an entirely inappropriate precedent.
To remove a sitting President is a drastic step for any democracy.
He or she has been chosen to serve in high office through an election process, and so for him or her to end their term prematurely must be on the sturdiest of footings so as to ensure maximum legitimacy in the constitutional process and so as to not risk undermining public confidence in the democracy.
Accordingly, the integrity of the impeachment process is of paramount importance.
There can be no weak or broken links. Every single one of the steps must be impeccably executed if the public is to be able to trust the process and, thereby, bestow it with the necessary and appropriate legitimacy.
Unfortunately, the Independent Panel has failed to deliver a report of the necessary impeccable quality and credibility.
Hence, Ramaphosa should certainly not resign because of the report of the Independent Panel, which is legally flawed. Here’s why:
First, because of the overriding constitutional scheme. Since removing a democratically elected president is a very big deal. An impeachment process should only get off the ground if there is good reason for it to do so.
Hence, the carefully worded rules that Parliament has put in place. These establish a three-phase process. To avoid egregious or vexatious impeachment processes, Parliament wisely decided that there should be a preliminary investigation by an independent panel of three fit and proper people to decide if there is sufficient evidence of a serious violation of the law by the President and/or serious misconduct.
While there may be other grounds that render it vulnerable to judicial review, such as whether the panel exceeded its authority by considering evidence and matters that went beyond the “tramlines” of the original impeachment motion tabled in Parliament, there is one defect of fundamental importance.
What was the core legal test that the panel needed to apply? The rules say “sufficient evidence of a serious violation of the law or serious misconduct” (in contrast, as the panel notes, to the process in the case of the impeachment of the Public Protector where the rules expressly use the phrase “prima facie”). In my view, “sufficient evidence” is a higher ...
01
DEC
5pm

In the eye of the storm: Inside the report that might sink Cyril Ramaphosa

The report which may end the political career of President Cyril Ramaphosa is a strange — and in parts comical — document. It’s possible it could be challenged in court. But it also highlights undeniable problems with Ramaphosa’s account of what happened at Phala Phala.
It sounds like a school maths problem — or perhaps an existential riddle. If a businessman pays $580,000 for 20 buffalo, and then doesn’t collect the buffalo in over two-and-a-half years, did the buffalo really get sold?
This is, genuinely, one of the questions at the heart of the report produced by an independent panel tasked by Parliament with investigating whether there are grounds to impeach President Cyril Ramaphosa over the theft of foreign currency from his Phala Phala farm in 2020.
The panel’s 86-page report is at points downright farcical. But there is nothing remotely funny about its conclusions, which at the time of writing have brought President Ramaphosa to the brink of resigning as head of state.
Too many known unknowns
A proliferation of “known unknowns”, to borrow the famous phrase from George W Bush’s Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld, plague the panellists responsible for the Phala Phala report.
The three-member team — former Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo, retired judge Thokozile Masipa, and advocate Mahlape Sello — acknowledge from the get-go in their report that they are working with extremely limited information.
Here follows a non-exhaustive list of things the panel writes that it doesn’t know: whether the South African Reserve Bank concluded an investigation into the foreign currency at Phala Phala, and the outcome of the investigation if so; whether Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance discussed the Phala Phala theft; whether the Public Protector completed her investigation into the matter; what progress has been made by the Hawks and SAPS in probing the Phala Phala theft.
Furthermore, the panel does not know what has come of investigations by the South African Revenue Service, the Financial Intelligence Centre, and Home Affairs.
At their disposal were also distinctly circumscribed powers. They couldn’t summon anyone to give evidence. They couldn’t request any documents. They could only consider “the information placed before [the panel] by members of the National Assembly, and the President’s response to this information”.
All this is obviously ludicrously inadequate in terms of reaching any kind of verdict on the President — which is why the report doesn’t do that.
It states, very plainly upfront, that “it was never intended that the panel should ...
01
DEC
4pm

The ANC’s long history of taking cash from dodgy donors

By 2010, the system of milking foreign governments for cash was firmly established in the ANC, but then all of a sudden the wheels came off.
Whatever happens to Cyril Ramaphosa and his presidency (at the time of writing it wasn’t clear), it’s ironic and almost inevitable that he was tripped up by his party’s cavalier attitude to party funding. This attitude goes back to the start of the democratic era. Former president Nelson Mandela was enormously ethical in many aspects of his life, but his Achilles heel was party funding.
Actually, “Achilles heel” is a glorious understatement. On party funding, the ANC has always decided, well, to party. Way back when I was a political correspondent in the 1990s, I was told a story I refused to believe at the time. Mandela was meeting with a head of state in 1990 shortly after he was released from prison. I’m not sure who it was, but my guess is that it was General Suharto of Indonesia. He asked for $10-million in cash and it was agreed upon immediately.
So Mandela waited around and was eventually asked what he was waiting for. Mandela said, somewhat indignantly, for the money. So some poor officials had to nip down to the central bank on a Sunday, open the vault, and withdraw $10-million in cash, which, amazingly, they did. It was then presented to Mandela, who took it back to SA in a briefcase.
I didn’t believe anyone would have the gall to do such a thing and after having done so, that the head of state in question would agree so readily. Clearly, I was much younger and much more naive. When the Indonesian ambassador subsequently presented his credentials after the new government was formed, Mandela thanked him for his country’s “generous donations”. Suharto then visited SA in 1997 and was awarded the Order of Good Hope, the country’s highest honour.
Actually, as it happens, Suharto got away cheaply. Huge sums were raised from King Fahd, the former leader of Saudi Arabia, who reportedly donated $50-million in 1994 and then another $10-million in 1999. Before the 1999 election, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan of the UAE donated $10-million, also reportedly paid “on the spot”. At one point, Mandela apparently asked Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for $10-million, but he gave $50-million. He also got a gong.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
Of course, the ...
01
DEC
4pm

Hawks swoop in North West, arresting and charging hundreds of corruption suspects

North West is the focal point of more than 50 criminal cases involving the theft of public money. Hawks’ national head Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya highlighted three cases in this province while giving an update on the agency’s successes.
Hawks head, Lt-Gen Godfrey Lebeya, briefed the media on Thursday, 29 November in Tshwane on the agency’s successes during the second quarter of this financial year.
According to his report, the Hawks arrested 827 suspects who appeared in courts across the country. During the same period, 217 accused were convicted and sentenced.
“The Directorate [for Priority Crime Investigation] has observed that corruption remains one of the most serious threats posed by criminals in our beloved country. It facilitates the movement of illicit financial funds, prompting our response to focus on money laundering charges stemming from criminal investigations.
“Corruption cases are a special breed in that they are committed in secret by consenting parties, necessitating extensive investigation to unearth such cases. It facilitates the movement of illicit financial funds, prompting our response to focus on money laundering charges stemming from criminal investigations.” reads his report.
Top three cases
Lebeya highlighted three North West cases — the R400-million SA Express tender corruption; Pogisho Patrick Shikwane, former acting municipal manager of the Bojanala District Municipality who faces corruption charges involving R2.4-million; and former Rustenberg municipal manager Nqobile Sithole for contraventions of the Municipal Finance Management Act relating to R11-million in tender fraud.
The suspects in the R400-million SA Express tender corruption case — Tebogo van Wyk, Nothando Dube, Sipho Levy Phiri and Thabang Mohlokoleng, along with Batsamai Investment Holdings, Sevilex Investment Holdings and Lavao Estevao — made their second appearance in the Molopo Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
NPA North West spokesperson, Henry Mamothame, said the matter had been postponed to 30 March 2023, awaiting the outcome of the application made to the office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions for more charges of racketeering to be added.
The State also wants the matter to be centralised, as some offences were committed in Gauteng.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Four suspects charged in North West court over dubious multimillion-rand SA Express contract”
According to Lebeya’s report, in September this year, Shikwane was arrested in connection with a R2.4-million tender fraud. He has appeared in the Rustenburg Magistrates’ Court and is on R10,000 bail.
The matter stems from irregularities in December 2017. Shikwane is said to have appointed a company called Big Time Strategy to provide information communication ...
01
DEC
3pm

ANC’s NEC nomination list peppered with young(ish) contenders, controversial characters and RET leaders

The ANC National Executive Committee nomination list is topped by fairly young ANC leaders — some with questionable pasts.
ANC Electoral Committee chair Kgalema Motlanthe officially announced the nominees for the National Executive Committee (NEC), the party’s highest decision-making body between conferences.
Former ANC KwaZulu-Natal chair Sihle Zikalala made a big comeback, having been the most nominated by ANC branches, with 1,447 votes. This comes after a ruthless defeat in his bid to serve as a provincial leader for a third term, and not garnering enough support to be a part of the provincial executive.
Others who are in the top 10 most popular ANC leaders include former ANC Gauteng chair David Makhura, the organisation’s Renewal Commission chair Thoko Didiza, former youth leader Ronald Lamola and SA Communist Party second general secretary David Masondo.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Zweli Mkhize clinches enough nominations to contest Cyril Ramaphosa for top ANC position”
However, it is the likes of NEC members Malusi Gigaba and Mduduzi Manana who stand out because of their controversial backgrounds.
Besides being embroiled in a sex scandal, Gigaba was mentioned in the second part of the Zondo Commission report as being at the centre of weakening governance processes at Denel and enabling State Capture at the once high-flying state-owned arms company. This was in 2012 during his tenure as public enterprises minister.
Gigaba was said to have been a regular visitor at the infamous Gupta family compound in Saxonwold and was found to have put pressure on former Denel CEO Riaz Saloojee to channel the company’s lucrative tenders to an entity linked to members of the Gupta family.
Manana was at the centre of controversy for assaulting a woman at a nightclub in 2017 — which he later apologised for.
In another incident, he was alleged to have abused his domestic worker, Christine Wiro, and subsequently stepped down from his position as an MP. This was after the National Prosecuting Authority could not bring a case against him.
Mzwandile Masina has received 461 branch nominations to be a part of the #ANC NEC while Supra Mahumapelo stands at 405.
Queenin Masuabi (@Queenin_M) December 1, 2022
The ANC’s head of elections, Fikile Mbalula, was accused of having been sponsored by Sedgars Sport for a trip to Dubai, along with his family, last year. Mbalula was minister of sport and recreation at the time of this trip, while the company that sponsored him was doing business with the South African Sports ...
01
DEC
3pm

Ramaphosa ‘consulting with stakeholders’ before possible address to the nation – presidential spokesperson

President Cyril Ramaphosa did not address the nation on Thursday night, as expected by some, following the release of the report stemming from the independent panel investigating the theft of US dollars from his Phala Phala farm.
Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya on Thursday evening said President Cyril Ramaphosa was still consulting with various stakeholders, including his political party, about what steps to take in the wake of the independent panel’s report on the Phala Phala forex theft scandal.
“I indicated that an announcement was imminent, [but] I did not provide any specific timelines. However, we appreciate and understand how an expectation of an address to the nation will rise because of high levels of interest on the matter,” said Magwenya.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Ramaphosa weighs resigning over panel’s farm-scandal report”
Magwenya added that South Africa was at an unprecedented and extraordinary moment as a result of the panel report, and whatever decision the President makes must be informed by the best interest of the country and cannot be rushed.
“We apologise for the impression that he was going to address the nation tonight,” said Magwenya.
He declined to divulge what options the President was mulling over as he consults the stakeholders.
Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations
The President’s options include among others taking the report to a judicial review, allowing Parliament to decide his fate, or resigning from his position.
This follows Ramaphosa cancelling a scheduled appearance before National Council of Provinces as he considers his response to the panel’s finding that he may have an impeachment case to answer.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “Report handover to Parliament — Ramaphosa denies Constitution violations, Arthur Fraser’s allegations“
Ramaphosa was scheduled to answer questions from members of Parliament in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday afternoon. Those plans were abruptly cancelled. At the same time, the DA has called for an early election, while other opposition parties have called for the President to resign.
Ramaphosa’s fate
Ramaphosa’s fate lies in the hands of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) that is scheduled to meet from Friday morning.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “What happens next if President Ramaphosa resigns?”
The President seemingly still enjoys support from the NEC. The NEC, as it did with two previous presidents, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, can recall the President before his term ends.
If they recall him, his deputy, David Mabuza, is the next in line.
If the NEC decides to ...
01
DEC
3pm

How to ensure you are making the most of your living annuity

Question: I recently received a letter to confirm the drawdown percentage of my living annuity. To keep the same level of income, I had to increase my drawdown to 7%, as the total value of my investments had dropped. I am worried that I may run out of money. What can I do?
Answer: Many people will be experiencing something similar over the coming year, following the really bad performance of the local and offshore stock markets in 2022. There are a couple of things that you can do to improve the situation.
Choose a better investment portfolio
A mistake that many retired people make when it comes to managing their living annuities is that they are either too conservative or too aggressive when choosing an investment portfolio.
If you are too conservative, your overall pension will not keep up with inflation and you will find it harder to come out on your pension in years to come.
If you are too aggressive, you risk finding yourself in a situation where a stock market collapse can put the sustainability of your pension at risk.
There are a couple of investment portfolios that are designed to give you decent long-term returns, along with downside protection. I would certainly recommend that you consider these going forward. I have used these for several of my clients and their pensions actually increased this year despite the big fall-off in the market.
Move part of your living annuity into a life annuity
If you convert some of your living annuity into a life annuity, the life annuity should give you a guaranteed income that will be higher than the 7% that you are currently drawing down. This will allow you to reduce the drawdown rate on your living annuity to something more sustainable. (I wrote about this in DM168 in May this year.)
The downside, however, is that the money that you used to purchase the life annuity will not be available to your heirs should you pass away.
Set up a structured portfolio
I recently came across a solution that can give you a very similar result to moving some of your investments into a life annuity, but without losing access to the original investment.
Your beneficiaries will therefore still inherit the proceeds of your living annuity, while you can manage your income on a sustainable basis. This only works if your living annuity is worth at least R3-million.
Here you get a specialist to structure your ...
01
DEC
3pm

Pleas for police intervention as construction mafias cripple building projects in Cape Town

Extortion in the building sector, particularly in Cape Town, has reached the point where paying off syndicates will become the norm. As a result of this criminal activity, 45,000 houses have remained unbuilt in the past five years.
Matlhlodi Maseko, DA Western Cape spokesperson for Human Settlements, told Daily Maverick on Tuesday that the party had raised urgent concerns about extortion in the province’s housing sector, describing the situation as “hopeless”.
There are also growing fears that if Police Minister Bheki Cele does not take drastic action to combat extortion syndicates, not only will housing construction be halted, but also that of schools and other vital projects.
Extortion is a form of organised crime that has infiltrated many aspects of South African life.
Read more in Daily Maverick: “South Africa must tackle organised crime before it’s too late”
Maseko said that over the past five years, 45,000 beneficiaries had been denied housing due to criminality affecting 47 housing projects.
The department of infrastructure, Maseko said, revealed in a recent parliamentary reply that housing projects in the Western Cape worth R5-billion had been halted since 2017 due to land invasions and criminal acts.
The most recent incident occurred last month in Gugulethu, when the contractor for Luvolo Housing Development was forced to stop working due to extortion and intimidation. During the incident, shots were fired at four security workers at the construction site.
‘We’ve stepped into a gangster’s world’
“There has been a pattern of criminality targeting Human Settlements projects with the express purpose of extorting money from project managers in exchange for protection.
“It’s as if we’ve stepped into a gangster’s world, where you have to pay an entry fee or be handed an affiliation to be a part of it. We are supposed to deliver, but this is not happening due to extortion. it has expanded. also in transportation and education,” Maseko explained.
Maseko said it was essentially a “hostage” situation:
“We are held hostage by these extortionists and there is no free economic development; no free involvement where communities can say, ‘I want to be an entrepreneur, and I might try my luck tendering for a contract’.
“Gangs are excluding larger communities and beginning to target members of communities,” she said.
Asked about the spread of extortion in urban centres, Maseko said gangs were becoming more involved in areas where they want to be given the security contract for a project, or to take over the entire project.
In August this year, gang ...

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