Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba said they will continue to intensify the raids at hijacked properties.

The war against Joburg building hijackers has intensified with 21 arrested on Tuesday night at two hijacked properties in Malvern.

Four suspects were arrested at No 14, 3rd Street while 17 suspects were arrested at No 12 -12A, 22nd Street in Malvern.

Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said the arrests follow a sting operation led by the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) Department working together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD).

The suspects have been charged with contempt of court, trespassing and malicious damage to property and were expected to appear in the Jeppestown Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

Allegations are that the suspects hijacked the properties which belong to one owner in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Mashaba said the suspects denied the owner access to his properties alleging that he was a hijacker and was intimidated in the process.

“The owner then obtained an eviction order last year which was executed but the suspected hijackers forcefully moved back into the property the same day.

“The owner then approached the GFIS which worked together with SAPS Johannesburg East Cluster in investigating the matters.

“I am delighted that another property owner has finally gained control of his properties which were in the hands of the hijackers.  This bring the total number of properties handed back to rightful owners to 31.

“Criminals must know that they might run but there is no place for them to hide in Johannesburg. Operation Buya Mthetho remains determined to ensuring that the rule of law returns to our communities.

Mashaba said the City would not not leave any stone unturned when dealing with criminal activities within its area of jurisdiction.

“We will continue to intensify the raids at these bad and hijacked properties with the assistance of SAPS and other law enforcement agencies,” he said.