21 suspected buildings hijackers arrested in Joburg operation

12 September 2018 - 10:13
By Penwell Dlamini
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.
Image: SIMPHIWE NKWALI Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba.

A total of 21 people suspected of hijacking properties in the City of Johannesburg have been arrested in a sting operation.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said the operation was conducted on Tuesday night by the city’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS), the SAPS and the JMPD.

“Four suspects were arrested at No 14, 3rd Street while 17 suspects were arrested at No 12 -12A, 22nd Street in Malvern… The suspects are expected to appear in the Jeppestown Magistrate’s Court today where they will be charged for contempt of court, trespassing and malicious damage to property.

“It is alleged that the suspects hijacked the properties which belong to one owner in 2013 and 2014 respectively.  The suspected hijackers have denied the owner access to his properties, alleging that he was a hijacker, and [he] was intimidated in the process.

"The owner then obtained an eviction order last year which was executed but the suspected hijackers forcefully moved back into the property the same day.

"The owner then approached the GFIS which worked together with SAPS Johannesburg East cluster in investigating the matters,” Mashaba said.

He added that the city has been able to return 31 properties to their rightful owners in its effort to fight building hijackings.