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Another property hijacker arrested in Cleveland

A 28- year old property hijacker was arrested this morning by the members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) for allegedly hijacking a property in Cleveland, east of Johannesburg.
The suspect is expected to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Friday, 10 November 2017.

I am pleased that in less than a week we have arrested 3 property hijackers.

The arrest follows a sting operation led by the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS), the SAPS and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).

It is alleged that the suspect hijacked the property in February 2016 and collected monthly rental of R15 000. The total amount collected by the suspect from February 2016 till the end of October 2017 is said to be in the region of R300 000. The rightful owner of the property further incurred legal fees totalling R150 000 while trying to obtain an eviction order.

Immediately after the rightful owner bought the property in February 2016, the suspect, who was then a tenant living on the property, approached the rest of the tenants and instructed them to pay monthly rentals to her.

She informed the other tenants that the new owner had transferred the property to her. She then partitioned the property in order to have extra rooms for the tenants. The rightful owner then reported the matter to the Cleveland Police Station last month. An investigation into the matter was then conducted by the SAPS and GFIS.

Hijacked properties are a serious challenge for the City, but I am pleased with the strides we are making in the fight against criminals who exploit our residents. The City has conducted an audit of some 500 bad buildings, about 134 of which are confirmed as hijacked. 24 of the 500 bad buildings belong to the City. Criminals must know that they might run but there is no place for them to hide in Johannesburg.

The City will not leave any stone unturned in fighting crime within the City and we will continue to intensify raids at bad and hijacked properties throughout Joburg with the assistance of the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies.

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

Cllr Herman Mashaba
Executive Mayor
City of Joburg

For further information, please contact:

Luyanda Mfeka
Acting Director of Communications
Office of the Executive Mayor
Cell: 076 171 5978

Lucky Sindane
Director: Strategic Stakeholder Management
Group Forensic and Investigation Services
Cell: 065 865 0696