City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA Pictures

Johannesburg - A property reported as hijacked in Yeoville, Johannesburg was successfully handed over to the rightful owner after the arrest of the suspected hijacker and his accomplice on Friday night, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said.

The men were expected to appear in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on Monday. The alleged property hijacker would be charged with contravening section 3 (1) of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act, contempt of court, and trespassing, while his co-accused, who was also a tenant at the property, would be charged for contempt of court and trespassing, he said on Saturday.

It was alleged that the tenant stopped paying rent as agreed with the owner last year, and subsequently sub-let the unit while also collecting rent without permission from the owner.

In an attempt to get the property back, the owner approached the court in December last year where an eviction order was granted. The suspected hijacker and the tenant were evicted from the property at the beginning of this month. They then forcefully moved back into the property, Mashaba said.

The hand-over of the property followed an investigation by the city’s group forensic and investigation service department (GFIS) working together with the South African Police Service (SAPS), he said.

"Criminals must know that they might run but there is no place for them to hide in Johannesburg. The city will not leave any stone unturned when dealing with criminal activities within its area of jurisdiction and we will continue to intensify the raids at these bad and hijacked properties with the assistance of SAPS and other law enforcement agencies.

"It is essential that we bring back the rule of law in our city and take it back from the criminal elements, such as landlords who take advantage of desperate people and house them under deplorable conditions. We are committed to ensuring that we stop the rot in our inner city and make it a prosperous and inclusive place for our people to live, work, and play," Mashaba said.

African News Agency/ANA