A PROPERTY reported as hijacked in Turffontein was successfully handed over to the rightful owner after the suspected hijacker was arrested on June 8.
The arrest follows a sting operation which was led by the city’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service department (GFIS) working together with the SAPS and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).
The suspect is expected to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. He will be charged for contravening Section 3(1) of the PIE Act.
It is alleged that the rightful owner of the property died in 2012 and his son inherited it. He then did some renovations on the property and when they were completed he went to inspect the property and found that the suspect had already hijacked the property. He refused to leave the property alleging that the late owner left it to him.
The suspect then chased the owner away and subsequently started subletting the rooms on the property and collected R14 700 in monthly rent without permission from the owner.
Tenants at the property have indicated that they are willing to co-operate with the rightful owner and pay rent to him.
To date, 25 hijacked properties have been handed back to their rightful owners. About 300 buildings are confirmed as hijacked in the city. The city has conducted an audit of some 500 bad buildings, 24 of the 500 bad buildings belong to the city.
The City of Joburg executive mayor, Clr Herman Mashaba, said: “I’m pleased to announce that 18 property hijackers have been arrested to date. We are slowly winning the fight against property hijacking in 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 when dealing with criminal activities within its area of jurisdiction and we will continue to intensify the raids at these bad and hijacked properties 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. We are committed to ensuring that we stop the rot in our inner city and make it a prosperous and inclusive place for our people to live, work and play in.”
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