Councillor released without charge in Joburg property hijack case

08 September 2023 - 14:44
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A confiscated vehicle readied to be towed away. The case relates to a Johannesburg metro police department investigation into the alleged hijacking of a property intended for use as a JMPD car pound. File image
A confiscated vehicle readied to be towed away. The case relates to a Johannesburg metro police department investigation into the alleged hijacking of a property intended for use as a JMPD car pound. File image
Image: 123RF/markstout

Only one of the 23 people arrested in connection with the hijacking of a city property appeared in the Johannesburg magistrate's court on Friday, with the councillor implicated earlier this week released without charge.

The case relates to a Johannesburg metro police investigation into the alleged hijacking of a property intended for use as a metro car pound.

The accused, named as Cabangani Mangena, cut a lone figure as he briefly appeared in court. The case was postponed for a week for address verification and legalities.

He appeared distressed as he was informed he would have to return to Sun City prison until his next court appearance, asking: “What have I done wrong? All I was doing was helping people move.”

He pleaded with a family member, who was in court to support him, to help get him out of jail as he insisted on his innocence.

He faces a fraud charge.

IFP caucus leader in the city Mlungisi Mabaso said there was no evidence linking the party's councillor to wrongdoing.

“The arrest was unwarranted and without merit. He has nothing to do with illegal occupations or the hijacking of city properties, as was alleged during his wrongful arrest. The councillor has been released as he was detained without any charge, which further proves the arrest was unwarranted and based on fictional charges.”

Mabaso told TimesLIVE the councillor was released on Thursday after spending more than 24 hours at Cleveland police station.

Asked how the councillor was arrested, Mabaso said he was named in the minutes of a meeting he held with a local station commander and businesses in Denver about the construction of a boundary wall.

“They called him to the scene and when he arrived, they didn't give him a chance to speak. They just said he's a suspect and lined him up with the others.”

Mabaso said officials at the scene “arrested everyone” in the vicinity. He alleged this included women hawkers operating outside the property and labourers looking for work.

TimesLIVE


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