House hijacking kingpin arrested

KINGPIN BUST: Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba says 11 hijacked properties have been handed back to their rightful owners and the City, alongside law enforcement, have arrested three property hijackers in the last three weeks.

ONE of Johannesburg’s most wanted property hijackers has been arrested.

Mayor Herman Mashaba released the news of the arrest of the property hijacking kingpin who was arrested alongside two co-accused implicated in eight cases of property hijacking in Johannesburg.

This kingpin and his co-accused will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on January 4.

The kingpin has been alleged to have even used the services of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police (JMPD) in order to be escorted to properties he wanted to hijack, under the pretense that he was working closely with the City investigating hijacked buildings.

According to Mashaba’s statement, the kingpin approached tenants of a property in the Johannesburg area and introduced himself as an investigator. The kingpin is alleged to have stated that the true owners of the properties were hijackers and that the tenants should not co-operate with them.

Mashaba said the kingpin would instruct tenants not to pay rent to the owners but instead pay the rent to him.

The same modus operandi was used in an earlier matter where the kingpin and his co-accused attempted to hijack a building in Jeppestown. The owners of the property informed the City’s Group Forensic Investigations Services (GFIS) unit which, alongside the Hawks, successfully handed back the property which was hijacked.

The owners had obtained an eviction order and it is alleged that the kingpin assisted the evicted illegal occupiers to hijack the property again. A scuffle ensued between security personnel and the illegal occupants, shots were fired and two people were injured in the process.

GFIS are working together with law enforcement agencies and the investigations are at an advanced stage as they are investigating a number of cases in which the kingpin is implicated in.

The kingpin has been convicted of fraud before and was also found guilty of impersonating a police officer. He has a 157- page criminal profile. It is alleged that he has been operating throughout the country and has criminal cases in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and in the Western Cape.

“Hijacked properties are a major challenge faced by the City but we are pleased with the progress we are making in addressing these challenges.

“Around 11 hijacked properties have been handed back to their rightful owners and we have also arrested three property hijackers in the last three weeks. About 164 buildings are confirmed as hijacked in the City,” Mashaba said.

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Gopolang Chawane

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