The task team set up to fight building hijacking and slumlording has arrested a Region F building inspector for allegedly asking for bribes.
THE efforts of the City’s Task Team on Building Hijacking seem to be paying off, following the recent arrest of a building inspector.
Region F director Nathi MthethwaRegion F director Nathi MthethwaThe 30-year-old Region F inspector was arrested for allegedly soliciting bribe money from a resident in Berea, during a sting operation on 4 July.
He briefly appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on 5 July, where he was charged with attempted hijacking of a building, fraud and corruption; he could also face an additional charge of defeating the ends of justice.
The case was handed over to the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court for further investigations, and the inspector is expected to appear in court again on 6 July.
Responding to the incident, the regional director of Region F, Nathi Mthethwa, said: “If you work with slumlords and building hijackers, no matter whether you are a City employee or who you are, you are in the same category.”
Inspecting suspected hijacked buildings and properties that had deteriorated or been badly neglected which were often targets for building hijackers, were among the inspector’s duties.
Mthethwa said the task team operated independently “without fear, favour or prejudice”, and that the arrest of a City employee had demonstrated this.
Set up two years ago, the task team consists of the South African Police Service, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, the South African Revenue Services, the national Director of Public Prosecutions, the Hawks and the witness protection programme.
“We want to congratulate the team on this. Assurance has been given by the SAPS that the task team will establish its own war room for the next five years to target and eliminate building hijackers and slumlords.
“To date, the task team has had tremendous success resulting in 52 cases currently on trial, 245 suspects arrested and 321 buildings currently under investigation,” said Mthethwa.
The City’s internal investigation unit would take steps to conduct an internal hearing on the matter soon, and the inspector would be suspended pending an internal investigation, Mthethwa added.
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