I am pleased to announce that six properties that were in the hands of hijackers have been handed back to their rightful owners. This brings the total number of hijacked properties that have been handed back to their owners to 18.
All these properties, which were previously hijacked, are situated in the South of Johannesburg.
The hand-over of the properties follow months of investigations by the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service department (GFIS), working together with the South African Police Service (SAPS).
It is alleged that one of the properties, situated in Forest Hill, was hijacked five years ago. The owner could not occupy the property after he was threatened by community leaders in the area alleging that the property was bought fraudulently.
The other five properties were hijacked between four and eight months ago.
I am happy that we are not only conducting the raids on hijacked and bad properties, but we are also arresting those that are involved in the hijackings and handing over properties to the 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. 15 property hijackers have been arrested.
We have also been receiving calls from property hijackers volunteering to vacate the properties which they have hijacked.
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.
I would like to thank the SAPS Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange for her commitment in addressing the challenge we are faced with by establishing a dedicated team that will investigate property hijackings in conjunction with the City.