Vannin Court in Hillbrow File picture: Lebogang Molote / ANA

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg said on Friday that 11 people had been arrested during a crime prevention operation in two hijacked buildings - Vannin Court in Hillbrow, and Killibility Court in Berea.  

In a statement on Friday the City said five "undocumented immigrants" were arrested during the operation and detained at the Hillbrow Police Station.

The operation was led by the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services Department in conjunction with the South African Police Service, Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, Emergency Management Services (EMS) and the City’s Environmental Health, Citizen Relationship and Urban Management and Social Development departments.

The City said immigration officers from the Department of Home Affairs will now process those who were arrested to ascertain relevant information.

In addition, six suspects, wanted for various crimes, were also arrested.

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said hijacked buildings were a major challenge the City faces.

He said it was essential to bring back the rule of law in the City and take it back from the criminal elements such as landlords who take advantage of desperate people and house them under deplorable conditions.

"However, I am pleased with the strides we are making to address this challenge. In the past three weeks we arrested three property hijackers," said Mashaba.  

"I am pleased that the man and his wife who were arrested early this month for hijacking a property in Kenilworth are still in custody. The couple appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday (on Thursday) and were denied bail."

Mashaba said the City has conducted an audit of some 500 bad buildings and 134 of them had been illegally occupied. He said 24 of the buildings belong to the City.