JOHANNESBURG, December 7 – Two building hijackers, 58-year-old Kenneth Ntila and 43-year-old Sinethemba Mkhumbuzi, have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.
Ntila was sentenced to 15-years imprisonment o Wednesday and his accomplice Mkhumbuzi got eight years behind bars for fraud related to their unlawfully taking over Angus Mansions in the Inner City. The pair was convicted on the 04 September 2017 by the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.
Between August and November 2006 the pair identified loopholes in the Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Office website, falsified company records and registered themselves as the owners of Angus Mansions.
The 67-unit building was owned by Philani Ma-Africa a section 21 company.
After changing ownership of the building Mkhumbuzi and Ntila then presented themselves as directors of Philani Ma-Africa and sold Angus Mansions for R3.5-million.
When they found a buyer for the building they produced fraudulent CIPRO documents, which indicated that they were the directors the company.
The pair assured the conveyancing attorney that everything regarding the sale was above board and that the sale needed to be finalised urgently.
A cheque of about R1.1-million was issued by the conveyancing attorney under name of Philani Ma-Africa. The cheque was then deposited into Ntila’s trust account, he then transferred R652 000 to Mkhumbuzi.
Mkhumbuzi and Ntila, a former attorney who was struck off the roll in 2014 by the law society, then applied for an eviction order which was granted. They evicted the tenants at Angus Mansions, most of them had to sleep on the street. One elderly evicted tenant died reportedly as a result of exposure.
Commenting on the matter on Thursday, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba said: “These criminals wanted to make sure that the property was vacant so that the new owners could take occupation”.
For years the rightful owners of the property battled in the courts to get the property back.
In 2009, Philani-Ma Afrika lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein seeking relief to set aside the purported sale of Angus Mansions. The appeal was successful and the court also set aside the high court eviction order of the 67 Angus Mansions occupants and owners.
The mayor said recovering hijacked properties was a challenge, bu the City was making strides.
“Eleven hijacked properties have been handed back to their rightful owners and we have also arrested 3 property hijackers in the last three weeks. About 164 buildings are confirmed as hijacked in the City,” Mashaba said.
He said following the arrests and conviction of the pair, other hijackers have contacted the City’s Group Forensic and investigation Services team offering to voluntarily vacate the properties.
“The City will not leave any stone unturned when dealing with criminal activities within its area of jurisdiction and we will continue to intensify the raids at these bad and hijacked properties with the assistance of Saps and other law enforcement agencies,” said Mashaba.
“It is essential that we bring back the rule of law in our City and take it back from the criminal elements such as landlords who take advantage of desperate people and house them under deplorable conditions.
“We are committed to ensuring that we stop the rot in our inner city and make it a prosperous and inclusive place for our people to live work and play.”
– African News Agency (ANA)