South Africa: Two Appear in Court for Attempted Extortion

Two suspects this week appeared before the Port Elizabeth Regional Court to face charges of extortion.

National police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said Luvuyo Chippa Baadjies (39) and Simphiwe Bans Waka (45) were arrested by members of the National Cold Case Investigation Team for allegedly threatening and demanding R100 000 from a building contractor.

The developer was building a satellite police station in Chatty, Bethelsdorp, just outside Port Elizabeth.

"This matter was brought to the attention of the National Cold Case Investigation Team on 15 January 2020. The developer was allegedly forced to pay the money or the construction of the police station was going to be halted.

"The suspects claimed to be representing a 'community business interest'. It later emerged that they were demanding the money for themselves," said Naidoo.

The contractor was also allegedly threatened not to tell any other members of the community about the demand.

A sting operation was conducted on 20 January 2020 at 15:30. The two suspects were arrested at Port Elizabeth International Airport, where they met with the contractor to collect the money.

Baadjies and Waka appeared in court on 21 January and were remanded in custody until 28 January to allow for further investigations in this case, as well as into their involvement in other similar cases.

The National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla Sitole, has welcomed the arrest of the suspects.

"We certainly cannot allow criminals to impede growth and development in this country. Should such a problem not be dealt with decisively, it may have the potential to impact negatively on the Grand Economic Strategy of the country," said Sitole.

In the meantime, further arrests in this case cannot be ruled out.

Police have appealed to anyone, who may be experiencing a similar problem, to contact the SAPS Crime Stop number on 086 00 10111. Tip-offs may be communicated via the MySAPSApp. Informers may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with the strictest confidence.

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