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Cape Town housing project killing – mayor urges speedy arrest of ‘thugs’ and offers R100 000 reward

Cape Town housing project killing – mayor urges speedy arrest of ‘thugs’  and offers R100 000 reward
The car in which a City of Cape Town official died in a hail of bullets on Thursday at the Symphony Way Housing Project in Delft. (Photo: Screengrab)

The woman who was shot and killed on Thursday at the Symphony Way Housing Project in Delft was not a security guard as initially reported, but a City of Cape Town official. She was shot a number of times inside her car and died on the scene.

Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis – confirming the official’s murder – called on police to hunt the killers and offered a reward of R100,000 for information on Friday. 

He and mayoral committee member for human settlements Malusi Booi visited the site where the official died in a hail of bullets. 

The name of the official, who was an air quality officer, is being withheld until the family has given permission.

Daily Maverick initially reported that she was a security guard by quoting two sources on record. A security guard, who was at the gate at the time of the shooting, was wounded.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said police found the body of the 48-year-old official inside a vehicle on the corner of Magalies and Mandara streets at N2 Gateway. She had sustained multiple gunshot wounds and was declared dead on the scene.

On Thursday, Daily Maverick reported that the shooting had occurred barely 24 hours after guards on a housing construction site revealed their fears amid alleged Mafia-like extortion in Delft.

The City didn’t respond to enquiries from the Daily Maverick but on Friday morning spokesperson Jean-Marie de Waal said: “The City decided to hold off all communication until the family had been informed on Thursday evening.”

A week ago a security guard was shot and wounded at the construction site, before the site was petrol bombed days later. Because of the threat of attacks and for the safety of workers, on-site security was beefed up and all cars entering the site had to sign a register.

Raised reward

On Friday, Hill-Lewis urged the police to do whatever it takes to hunt down the perpetrators of the violence.

“We are also increasing our reward to R100,000 for information leading to the successful prosecution of those responsible for the murder of this City official.”

The mayor also urged Delft residents and the future beneficiaries of the housing project to help find the killers and help to protect the project so that it is not derailed.

He reiterated: “We will not be intimidated by selfish thugs – we have a mission to deliver much-needed housing to our poorest communities that really need it.”

Guards left traumatised

Recalling the fatal shooting, security guards, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Daily Maverick that on Thursday the City official pulled up in her car at the gate.

“She signed the register and was about to enter the site when a white car pulled up behind her vehicle. Two unknown gunmen got out and fired at least 15 shots into the car.

Symphony Way Housing Project

The Symphony Way Housing Project site in Delft, Cape Town. (Photo: Suné Payne, Daily Maverick)

“Her feet must have hit the accelerator and she speeded into the fence. We saw the whole incident. We were so shocked and are still traumatised. We don’t know if the gunmen have recognised us. We are very scared.”

The motive for the shooting, the mayor explained, is unclear but added it is part of a trend of violence directed at housing projects. Police were investigating, assisted by the City’s Safety and Security Investigation Unit.

The R500-million Symphony Way project is earmarked for 3,300 beneficiaries, who are among the most vulnerable in the metro, including from Blikkiesdorp. According to Hill-Lewis the site has been closed temporarily for safety reasons and for the SAPS investigation.

Following the murder there have been calls from residents, ward councillors and the community policing forum to close the site. One of the suggestions from locals  is to erect a satellite police station on the site to stabilise the volatile situation.

One of the councillors who spoke on record to Daily Maverick has received threatening calls saying “we know where you live” and has since requested that her name be withheld.

Hill-Lewis said the City will be considering the next steps to get the project up and running again, adding that it will continue to pursue its six-point plan to help reduce criminality and extortion threatening its housing projects worth about R1-billion.

“We are heartbroken at these latest events in Delft. Besides the R100,000 reward for info to successfully prosecute the killers of our staff, in general, we are also offering rewards of R5,000 for information leading to arrests of anyone targeting the City housing projects with extortion and violence.” DM

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