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City of Joburg turn off lights at hijacked buildings

Image: Siyabonga Sithole

Image: Siyabonga Sithole

Published Sep 13, 2023


The MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Jack Sekwaila, will lead the City Power Revenue Protection team to disconnect electricity to several hijacked buildings in the Inner City of Johannesburg.

The buildings are believed to be occupied by suspected illegal and extremely violent occupants.

The city-wide crackdown began two weeks ago after a fire at a five-storey building in Marshalltown resulted in the death of 77 people.

Since then, the MMC for transport, Kenny Kunene, and his public safety counterpart, Dr Mgcini Tshwaku, have been visiting hijacked and abandoned buildings such as Casa Mia, Florence Nightingale and other crime-infested buildings, with the intention of relocating some of the residents to shelters.

In a statement on Wednesday, spokesperson for City Power Isaac Mangena is quoted as saying that the power utility unit of the city will be clamping down on defaulters.

“City Power is ramping up revenue collection efforts and as a result, the actions of those who hijack buildings are not different to the illegal connectors who put pressure on our electricity network and further hinder revenue recovery efforts. Illegal connection of electricity is theft and should be treated as such by conducting this operation which will be supported by the law enforcement agency,” Mangena said ahead of the crackdown.

Today’s crackdown comes a week after an IFP councillor in the city was arrested alongside 22 others after he was alleged to be part of a syndicate of building hijackers.

However, the IFP in Gauteng said it will be suing the City of Johannesburg for defamation and the wrongful arrest of its councillor in connection with a “hijacked” building.

Councillor Nkosikhona Khanyile, of ward 65, was among 22 people arrested last week regarding the “hijacking” of a property in Denver, east of Johannesburg.

He was fingered in the “hijacking” of a property that was intended to be a vehicle pound for the Johannesburg Metro Police Department.