Since June hijacked buildings plaguing the Johannesburg CBD have been thrown into the spotlight. City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has vowed to rid the City of these in order to create high rise buildings that can be used for affordable housing.
Now it appears that buildings are being hijacked in the suburbs, not just the CBD.
One of the areas affected is the suburb of Windsor East. Apparently, around 20 to 30 block of flats have been hijacked. This is is according to ward councillor of the area Bev Weweje.
Weweje says that the 20 to 30 buildings that have been hijacked are linked to a particular group that has come under the spotlight. She adds that this group did not set out to occupy these buildings.
In Windsor, Weweje says that there are pockets of buildings that have been hijacked, rather than whole buildings. For her this issue is contributing to the degradation of the suburb. Many effected buildings have been without electricity, because of tenants who do not pay.
While the property issue is not a council mandate, it effects stuff. That is why I'm involved. It is effecting my services.— Bev Weweje, Ward 98 Councillor
One of the people who are combating this issue is the City of Joburg Director of Property Hijackings Investigations Victoria Ramala. She says that one of the biggest challenges for them is the proper prosecution of those involved.
To help with this, Ramla says they have a appointed director of prosecutions who will make sure that investigations into those who are arrested will be propely dealt with.
We do not have an offence called property hijacking. We normally use fraud elements or solicitation where people get money from the occupied buildings. So it is very important that the statement of the offense by the police cover all these elements.— Victoria Ramala, City of Joburg Director of Property Hijackings Investigations
Listen to the full interview below: