Hundreds of people found in hijacked Hillbrow building, three suspects arrested

The City of Johannesburg is looking to expropriate abandoned or hijacked buildings in the CBD and in Hillbrow. (File,Khaya Ngwenya)
The City of Johannesburg is looking to expropriate abandoned or hijacked buildings in the CBD and in Hillbrow. (File,Khaya Ngwenya)

Over 300 undocumented foreign nationals have been in a Hillbrow building, and three suspects have been arrested for hijacking the 21-storey building.

The undocumented nationals, from Malawi and Zimbabwe, were taken in for processing and verification of their stay in the country, says police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters.

"Three suspects, two women and a man, were arrested for hijacking the building after police were able to locate the rightful owner," Peters says.

Six Malawian nationals - four juveniles and two pregnant women - have been released pending their appearance before immigration authorities to prepare for their direct deportation.

Festive safety

The operation kicked off the Safer Festive Season Campaign in Gauteng, and was attended by Police Minister General Bheki Cele, together with the Deputy Minister of Police Cassel Mathale, Deputy National Commissioner Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola, Gauteng Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, and Johannesburg Metro Police Department Chief David Tembe.

In other operations under the campaign, police traced 124 suspects on whom warrants of arrests were executed for a range of crimes. Roadblocks were mounted at strategic points in all the five districts in the province and saw unroadworthy cars impounded and fines issued for contravention of road traffic regulations.

"A stolen police firearm was found on a wanted suspect, a Mozambican national, who was also driving a suspected stolen vehicle on the N12 in Alberton," says Peters.

Three other firearms were also recovered – one in a roadblock on the N3 and two during a hostel raid in Thokoza. In addition, confiscated counterfeit goods estimated at R25m and confiscated liquor valued at R1.4m were confiscated.

"Residents of Gauteng can look forward to high visibility in known hotspots such as shopping centres and malls; more roadblocks to address road fatalities; visits by the police to places of entertainment; and more shut-downs of illegal liquor outlets; and generally more crime prevention operations," says Peters.

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