Following the arrest of an alleged property hijacker, Johnathan Constable and two accomplices, Executive Mayor of Johannesburg Herman Mashaba appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court to oppose the bail application put forward by the accused on 4 January.
Mashaba was joined by Speaker of Council councillor Vasco da Gama and the newly-appointed chief of police for the Metro police David Tembe.
Mashaba said, “It is alleged that Constable approached unsuspecting tenants residing in properties around the city and introduced himself as an investigator. He would then [allegedly] state that the true owners of the properties were hijackers and that the tenants should not cooperate with them. Further, [it is claimed] he would instruct the tenants not to pay any rent to the owners but to him instead.”
Constable also appeared alongside two accomplices, Bongani Khathide and Kingsley Eze.
It is alleged that he has been operating throughout the country.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) applied for a postponement in the bail proceedings to finalise its case for opposing this bail application. The bail hearing has been postponed to 10 January.
Mashaba said, “As a City, we are committed to providing quality low-cost affordable housing to our residents. Building hijackers rob our residents of this quality housing and condemn many to live under inhumane conditions. We cannot allow this to continue any further.
“That is why we will continue to be vigorous in assisting our law enforcement authorities to not only capture these criminals but to also ensure that they are subjected to the full might of the law.
“Hijacked properties are a major challenge faced by the City. However, working together with law enforcement authorities such as the South African Police Services and the NPA, we are making strides towards making the city a safe and inclusive space for all our residents to live, work and play.”
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