Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has been accused of abusing the criminal justice system and conspiracy in arresting a man alleged to be the kingpin behind several hijacked buildings in the city, reports TimesLIVE. Appearing in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court yesterday for his bail hearing, Jonathan Constable charged that Mashaba was irresponsible in labelling him a kingpin, claiming instead that he was a member of the National Immigrants Council of SA union and was attempting to help tenants.

Constable and his co-accused, Bongani Khathide and Kingsley Okwebi, are charged with theft and fraud. Constable, who told the court he had previous convictions of robbery and fraud, said he was investigating allegations of fraudulent ownership of the buildings when he was arrested. The charges against him were orchestrated and fabricated, he said. Mashaba has vowed to crackdown on hijacked buildings as part of his plan to rejuvenate the inner city, notes Legalbrief.

Full TimesLIVE report

The state argued against bail, claiming Constable was is an instigator of violence in the inner city. A TimesLIVE report notes that prosecutor Cobus Ehlers told the court Constable  ‘instigates trouble’. Constable refuted the state's claim saying he had in fact called for and brought about calm in the Johannesburg inner city. ‘When I arrived in Johannesburg‚ there was burning of tyres and protests. We stopped the evictions of people and those protests stopped. For the state to say that I'm causing anarchy‚ they are wrong‚’ Constable said.

Full TimesLIVE report