Criminals hijacking buildings through fraudulent transfers

Joburg mayor, Clr Herman Mashaba.

City of Johannesburg forensic group and investigation unit presented a report alleging a number of buildings have been hijacked through fraudulent transfers of property to new owners.

Also read: Plans afoot to tackle hijacked buildings

Executive mayor, Clr Herman Mashaba, said the city and law enforcement institutions will fast-track efforts to investigate crime syndicates driving these activities.

Also read: CoJ trying to address abandoned buildings issue

“We found that these criminals fraudulently secure clearance certificates to affect the transfer of ownership. Our revenue unit will investigate allegations of internal corruption,” said Mashaba.

“We cannot allow these syndicates to handover our city to slumlords.”

The city’s development planning department and the revenue unit will be working with the deeds registry office to explore the possibility of opting for transmission of the clearance certificates from revenue to deeds registry electronically.

“Currently this process is done manually and allows for the alleged fraudulent transfers,” said Mashaba.

The city will also consider blacklisting conveyancers who have colluded with city officials in the fraudulent transfer of property.

Mashaba said he wants to see rundown buildings turned into quality low cost housing for residents and affordable rental spaces for small businesses.

Mbavhalelo Malofha

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