Johannesburg - Seven people have been arrested in Kliptown, Johannesburg, at the "Bagdad" flea market by the South African Police Service (SAPS) for allegedly being in possession of suspected stolen City of Johannesburg property, the city said on Saturday.
The suspects would appear in the Kliptown Magistrate's Court on Monday, mayor Herman Mashaba said.
"A concerned Joburg citizen contacted the city’s group forensic and investigation service (GFIS) department yesterday [Friday] morning and informed the team about a group of people who stripped off building material from the vacant Kliptown RDP houses in Soweto," he said.
"A team was immediately dispatched to Kliptown, Bagdad flea market and it was confirmed that the building material was stripped off the RDP houses. The material was then being sold to the public in the market. When the suspects were questioned about where they got the building material from they became violent and threatened the team," Mashaba said.
An operation was then set up by the GFIS, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), and the SAPS. The flea market was raided and building material belonging to the city was confiscated by the JMPD.
"Not very far from the flea market is the Soweto Country Club, where thieves stole 12 panels of clear view fence in December last year. On Friday, we arrested one suspect who is allegedly involved in the theft of the fence," he said.
"I am happy that the thieves are behind bars and I have no doubt that the SAPS will work around the clock to ensure that everyone involved faces the full might of the law. I would like to commend GFIS, JMPD, and the SAPS for the sterling job.
"I would also like to thank the residents of Kliptown and Eldorado Park who refused to be part of this criminal activities and pointed out the thieves. Historically these criminals have operated with impunity, and those days are coming to an end.
"I would also like to encourage people to report any theft, fraud, and corruption activities through our 24-hour tip-off hotline 0800-002-587 or visit the GFIS offices situated at 48 Ameshoff Street in Braamfontein," Mashaba said.
African News Agency/ANA