war on joburg flats hijacks

THE Gauteng government has warned that police would raid inner city buildings in Johannesburg within the next two weeks to weed out illegal occupiers and property hijackers.

MEC for community safety Khabisi Mosunkutu, provincial police commissioner Perumal Naidoo and head of detective services Norman Taioe said at a media briefing yesterday that they would do everything in their power to return order to the inner city.

Taioe said police were investigating 40 cases.

"We have also identified three syndicates, one being linked to 98 buildings, another to 28 buildings and the other to 10 buildings," said Taioe.

Mosunkutu said he was "deeply concerned" about the hijacking of buildings in central Johannesburg.

"Over 12 buildings were raided recently and 158 undocumented people were found in the buildings. Some of these people are enforcers for the kingpins," said Mosunkutu.

He said it had become apparent to the police that certain council officials were working with the hijackers.

Naidoo also admitted there were rogue police officers working in cahoots with the illegal occupiers.

"No one will be protected, we don't care whether you are wearing (a police) uniform or have decades of experience.

"We have investigated, prosecuted and convicted officers who are now languishing in prison," said Naidoo.

Mosunkutu said "these criminals" would be issued with notices to provide documentation of ownership for verification, and if they did not comply "we will fall upon them like a ton of bricks".

He said they planned to carry out the raids between August 26 and 28. "This is not aimed at tenants. The city has departments that deal with social issues and we are confident that we will manage this," Mosunkutu said.