Five arrested in Joburg raids on hijacked buildings


File: Many of the hijacked buildings have fallen into a state of disrepair, posing a threat to the lives of vulnerable residents. 

JOHANNESBURG – Five people have been arrested for drug possession in downtown Johannesburg following early Friday morning raids.

The raids were conducted on a number of properties, including Arms Court in Berea, Vannin Court and Number 77 along Wolmarans Street in Hillbrow.

Mayor Herman Mashaba, fresh from surviving a motion of no confidence against him in the Johannesburg legislature on Thursday, said 20 cases of alcohol were also confiscated.

The suspects are expected to appear in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

READ: Police arrest 175 in Johannesburg weekend blitz

Mashaba says hijacked buildings are a main concern for the council.

“Hijacked properties are one of the challenges we are faced with in the city but we are pleased with the strides we are making in addressing the challenge,” the mayor said.

“Last month, we arrested three property hijackers and handed back the properties to the rightful owners.”

“Leading to the festive season, we are going to intensify these raids working with the various stakeholders. This is a period where property hijackers take advantage of the fact that people go away on holiday and hijack their properties,” Mashaba added.

“Criminals must know that they might run but there is no place for them to hide in Johannesburg.”

Mashaba confirmed the municipality conducted an audit of some 500 bad buildings, about 134 of which were confirmed as hijacked.

Some 24 of those 500 bad buildings belonged to the City of Johannesburg.