JOHANNESBURG – Three female suspect property hijackers who reportedly hijacked Doreen Court for ten years were arrested this week in Bellevue East, Johannesburg, said city mayor Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba, on Sunday.
The arrests on Friday evening followed a stabbing operation led by the Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) of the city, in collaboration with the South African police (SAPS), he said.
The three women would appear Monday at the Hillbrow Magistrate's Court on charges of violating section 3 (1) of the Prevention of Illegal Expulsion from and Unlawful Practice of the Constitution (PIE Law) and Fraud.
"It is alleged that the suspects, who were tenants at Doreen Court, hijacked the ownership of the owner in May 2008. They have waived their obligation to pay monthly rent to the owner and then sublet the property to unsuspecting people, "said Mashaba.
The suspected hijackers unlawfully collected monthly rent from the subtenants without the consent of the owner. The owner was also denied access to his property.
The owner then approached the GFIS, which together with the SAPS Johannesburg East cluster investigated the issue.
"I am pleased that another owner of a house has finally gained control of his property, which was in the hands of the privateers, giving the total number of properties back to 29," he said.
"Criminals need to know that they can flee, but there is no place for them to hide in Johannesburg." The Buya Mthetho operation remains determined to ensure that the rule of law returns to our communities.
"It is essential that we bring back the rule of law in our city and take back the criminal elements such as landlords who abuse desperate people and house them under deplorable conditions," Mashaba said.
African news agency (ANA)