Johannesburg - Former Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba is still determined to intensify his war on hijacked buildings in the inner city despite a full bench of the South Gauteng High Court this week declaring the raids unlawful.
Mashaba told Independent Media on Wednesday that the new political party he is launching next month will contest the local government elections scheduled for next year.
”Once I come back as mayor of Joburg we will intensify the raids to get rid of criminals,” he promised, adding that he would not apologise for the raids.
He expressed his disappointment with the ruling and pledged that the City of Joburg’s legal team would work with police to ensure they operated within the confines of the law.
Mashaba said he had expected the police to follow the law in preparations for the raids conducted between June 2017 and May 2018 without warrants, affecting about 3000 occupants of 11 buildings in Doornfontein, Hillbrow, Berea and Joubert Park.
The raids, searches, inspections, seizures, fingerprinting and arrests were declared unlawful by Judge-President Dunstan Mlambo, judges Piet Meyer and Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane.
The residents, who were represented by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA, were unsuccessful in their bid to get a solatium of R1000 in damages to be paid by Police Minister Bheki Cele for each unlawful search.
Mashaba said he had asked his legal team to look into Monday’s ruling.
The former mayor maintained that he was a law-abiding citizen and respected the rule of law but he was disappointed with the judgment.
He said that the reason for his campaign against hijacked buildings was to partner the private sector to provide affordable housing for residents.
Mashaba, who launched The People’s Dialogue in December as a platform for engagements about building "a South Africa that all can be proud of", said his new party would contest for power in all the metropolitan municipalities in Gauteng, Joburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni.
The judges said the motivation for the raids came from Mashaba’s office and were led by the municipality’s group forensic and investigation service unit to deal with hijacked buildings and other serious crimes.