11 arrested in Johannesburg raid on hijacked buildings

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Eleven people have been arrested during a raid in downtown Johannesburg‚ Mayor Herman Mashaba said.

Five undocumented immigrants were arrested on Thursday‚ along with six others who were arrested for various crimes.

The operation was led by the city’s group forensic and investigation services department‚ together with the South African Police Service (SAPS)‚ Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD)‚ Emergency Management Services (EMS) and the City’s Environmental Health‚ Citizen Relationship and Urban Management and Social Development departments.

The properties that were targeted include Vannin Court in Hillbrow and Killibility Court in Berea.

Twenty cases of alcohol were confiscated. Compliance notices were issued by EMS.

"Hijacked buildings are one of the major challenges we face in the City‚ however‚ I am pleased with the strides we are making to address this challenge‚" Mashaba said in a statement on Friday morning.

"In the past three weeks we arrested 3 property hijackers. I am pleased that a husband and his wife who were arrested early this month for hijacking a property in Kenilworth are still in custody. The couple appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday and were denied bail." Mashaba said the city had conducted an audit of about 500 "bad" buildings‚ about 134 of which were confirmed as hijacked. Twenty-four belong to the city.

"It is essential that we bring back the rule of law in our City and take it back from the criminal elements such as landlords who take advantage of desperate people and house them under deplorable conditions‚" Mashaba said.

"I would like to thank all the role players involved in yesterday’s successful operation‚ especially the SAPS for their continued support." 

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