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Joint JMPD, SAPS raid nets 64 illegal migrants in Hillbrow Print E-mail
03 July 2017

Sixty-four foreign nationals were arrested when a joint Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and South African Police Service (SAPS) team mounted a massive crime prevention operation in Hillbrow in Region F on Friday June 30.

Forty of them were taken into custody after the police officers raided Vannin Court, a hijacked 13-storey building on the corner of Pietersen and Quartz streets. More than 300 people live in overcrowded conditions in the decaying building, which smells of urine and animal carcasses and has over time turned into a health hazard, unfit for human habitation.

The other 24 suspects were arrested when the police raided Florence House flats, formerly the Florence Nightingale Hospital, opposite Constitution Hill, according to JMPD spokesperson Superintendent Edna Mamonyane.

They were due to appear in court on Monday July 3 on charges of being in South Africa illegally.

Led by SAPS’s General Dimakatso Ndaba, the operation also included the involvement of officials from the City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Management Services (EMS), Group Forensic and Investigations Services, Health and Social Development Department as well as from the Department of Home Affairs.

According to General Ndaba, Friday afternoon’s operation also targeted drugs and illegal substances, dangerous weapons, and goods and human trafficking.

Superintendent Mamonyane said building hijackings had for a long time been a major headache for the City of Joburg, which lost R8-billion a year as a result of illegal occupation. “Since the late 1990s, successive mayors have vowed to clamp down on building hijackers with little success,” she said.

Siphiwe Sithole, a 36-year-old unemployed man from Nkandla in KwaZulu-Natal, said he had lived in Vannin Court for the past 25 years. “For many years, my mother worked for a white family that lived in this building. They gave her this flat as a token of appreciation for her dedication and good service. My siblings and I moved in to live with her around 1992,” Sithole said.

“My mother left us a home. Our government turned it into this. It has the power to fix it,” he said.

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Last Updated on 03 July 2017