City of Joburg returns hijacked buildings to owners
The City of Johannesburg has returned three hijacked buildings to their rightful owners‚ Mayor Herman Mashaba said on Tuesday.
The handover took place on Monday night‚ Mashaba said in a statement. Two of the properties are in Kenilworth and one in Turffontein.
“The hand-over of the properties follows months of investigations by the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service Department (GFIS) working together with the South African Police Service (SAPS)‚” Mashaba said.
“It is alleged that the properties were hijacked last year and that the rightful owners were denied access. After months of trying to evict the hijackers and their tenants without success‚ the owners approached GFIS in August this year for assistance.”
A husband and wife appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court last Thursday after they were arrested for hijacking one of the properties. The couple were among 11 people arrested during a downtown raid‚ and were denied bail.
Five undocumented immigrants were also arrested last week‚ along with six others who were arrested for various crimes.
“I am happy that we are not only conducting the raids on hijacked and bad properties but we are also arresting those that are involved in the hijackings and returning the properties to their rightful owners‚” Mashaba said.
The City has conducted an audit of around 500 bad buildings‚ about 134 of which were confirmed as hijacked. Twenty-four belong to the City.