Police arrest 25 after 'building hijack' attempt at Communicare development
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Cape Town - Police have arrested 25 people after reports they held estate security guards at gunpoint “in an attempt to hijack social housing units” at the Communicare Bothasig Gardens apartments on Saturday night.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said Bothasig police arrested the group on charges of housebreaking and the possession of housebreaking implements.
“The 16 women and nine men, aged between 21 and 50, are expected to make their court appearance tomorrow (Monday) in Goodwood.”
According to Communicare spokesperson Makhosi Kubeka: “Quick action by SAPS prevented the hijacking.
“This follows a court order evicting 40 building hijackers from Communicare units in Brooklyn last week after 12 weeks of illegally occupying the units. It appears that a criminal syndicate is behind the occupations.”
Communicare chief executive Anthea Houston said: “The organised nature and frequency of these invasions are of extreme concern to Communicare and our lawful tenants.
“We cannot sustain our operations and invest in social housing if such criminal behaviour continues. Immediate co-operation and further action is needed from law enforcement and the City to put a permanent stop to these invasions.
“To finance the development at Bothasig Gardens, Communicare invested R44.5 million, government provided R85.3m in grants through the Social Housing Regulatory Authority, while R33m was raised as a loan.
“All the units are aimed at families with combined incomes between R5 500 and R15 000 per month. The building hijackings severely threaten future investment in social housing and rental in the city.”
Condemning the latest incident, area MP Faiez Jacobs (ANC) said: “Jumping the queue and by-passing the application process cannot be encouraged or tolerated.
“The first batch of apartments are to be let later in June, once they are ready for tenanting. Many poor families have already been identified for handover and are waiting patiently for the final completion of the apartments.”
Last week, members of the provincial EFF conducted an inspection of some of Communicare’s properties in an effort to find out for themselves the truth about reports of building hijackings by residents.
The latest incident at Bothasig Gardens comes shortly after a meeting last week between the new chairperson of the Bothasig Residents’ Association, Derek Serra, and Ward councillor Helen Carstens during which increasing the level of safety and security was discussed.
During the meeting, the residents estimated it would cost R17 000 to raise the height of the existing vibracrete wall and install spikes.