Doors were kicked down, drugs seized, suspected dealers arrested and a man was caught in the act with a prostitute when Tshwane executive mayor Solly Msimanga led a clean-up operation in Pretoria West yesterday.
Dubbed Operation Tswelopele, Msimanga launched the inner-city rejuvenation operation at the Tshwane metro police headquarters yesterday, where he led police, home affairs officials, and South African Revenue Service officials to “clean up” crime-ridden parts of Pretoria West.
“There are issues around drugs and this area here needs a special intervention. I have instructed the new metro police chief that those dealing with drugs, dealing with stolen copper cables and criminal activities should have no space to breath. We need to drive them out,” Msimanga said.
By 2pm yesterday, 16 people had been arrested.
They included undocumented foreign nationals, suspected drug dealers and those found in possession of drugs.
Scores of cars illegally parked on the pavements or were being repaired by panelbeaters in the streets were impounded.
During the raids at suspected drug houses, a man and a prostitute were caught in the act by Msimanga, while the man was found in possession of a white powdery substance, which still needs to be tested.
But what was shocking was the number of illegally-built properties around the Pretoria West area that used illegal electricity and water connection for tenants.
Not a cent goes to municipal rates and taxes, Msimanga said.
“We found there are many illegal structures being built behind high walls, with illegal electricity connections and bridging of water meters, and the municipality is losing million and millions of rands. “We found a group of people who own a significant number of illegally-built properties. They make about a million rands a month without paying the municipality. “We will close them down.”
While the west parts of the capital city were turned upside down, Msimanga said the operation would continue on a monthly basis across Tshwane to avoid angry communities from taking the law into their own hands.
He said he was concerned such illegal activities were happening right next to the Pretoria West police station.