28 people arrested from 5 hijacked properties in the South of Johannesburg
14 March 2018
Last night, 4 property hijackers and 24 people were arrested for trespassing and contempt of court following a sting operation at 5 hijacked properties in the South of Johannesburg.
One undocumented foreign national was also arrested during the operation. Home Affairs is expected to process the suspect.
With respect to some of the properties, the owners had evicted unlawful occupiers and hijackers from their properties, however, these unlawful occupiers then forcibly moved back into the properties, trespassing and failing to adhere to an order of court in the process.
The suspects are detained at the Johannesburg Central Police Station and will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 15 March 2018.
I am also pleased to announce that during the operation 4 properties which were in the hands of the hijackers were also handed back to their rightful owners. The owners have arranged their private security to guard these properties.
The total number of properties that have been handed back to their rightful owners now stands at 22.
The operation was led by the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service department (GFIS), working together with the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Home Affairs, Social Development and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).
I am informed that in the case of one of the properties, hijacked 4 years ago, the hijacker has been collecting monthly rental of R21 000. I am happy that the owner of this property will finally take control of the property.
About 300 buildings are confirmed as hijacked in the City. The City has conducted an audit of some 500 bad buildings. 24 of the 500 bad buildings belong to the City. 15 property hijackers have been arrested.
Criminals must know that they might run but there is no place for them to hide in Johannesburg.
The City will not leave any stone unturned when dealing with criminal activities within its area of jurisdiction and we will continue to intensify the raids at these bad and hijacked properties with the assistance of the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies.
I would like to thank the Saps Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange for her commitment in addressing the challenge we are faced with by establishing a dedicated team that will investigate property hijackings in conjunction with the City.
I would also like to thank the Department of Social Development for the critical role they played last night in ensuring that the minors that were found in the hijacked properties were well taken care of and moved to a safer place.
Issued by Luyanda Mfeka. Director: Mayoral Communications, Office of the Executive Mayor, 14 March 2018