2 Johannesburg property developers in court for stealing water

2018-05-31 21:32

Two developers from Waterfall Investment Company and a Johannesburg Water employee have been released on bail after they were arrested for illegally obtaining water meters and stealing water from the City at the Waterfall City development.

Irvine Steyn and Yvette Scheepers, employees at Waterfall Investment Company, were arrested in a joint operation by the City of Johannesburg's group forensic and investigation services (GFIS) unit, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department and the Hawks on Wednesday after they allegedly colluded with Johannesburg Water employee Faisel Abrahams.

The GFIS' Lucky Sindane said the developers stole water worth millions of rands.

READ: City of Johannesburg uncovers illegal water connections in plush Waterfall Estate

They were arrested on Wednesday and appeared in the Johannesburg Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Thursday on charges of fraud and corruption. They were released on R5 000 bail each and are due in court again on July 19.

"An investigation by the City's group forensic and investigation services (GFIS) unit and Operation Buya Mthetho revealed that the Waterfall Investment Company allegedly obtained water meters illegally from Abrahams and used them during construction at Waterfall City.  The meters used are not registered on the City's billing system," Sindane said.

"Instead of applying for a bulk water meter which can cost up to R140 000, Waterfall Investment Company allegedly colluded with Abrahams to obtain the meter and continue with the development."

Up to R8bn in annual losses

He said the City's Operation Buya Mthetho team was currently conducting audits on all water meters installed at Waterfall City.

"It is unfortunate that some developers have found ways to engage in irregular practices which seek to circumvent due process and end with massive revenue leakages for the City," he said.

"The City annually loses between R5bn and R8bn due to revenue leakages and accounts being deleted off the billing system."

Sindane said during a recent visit to Waterfall City by a member of the mayoral committee for finance Funzela Ngobeni it was established that some water meters were not reading despite continuous use of water.

"It was also discovered that the well-known property developers connected directly from the fire hydrants," he said.

"It was also discovered that the development is not registered, meaning the services that are used by tenants and the developers are also illegal."

Sindane said most water connections on the property development accessed water without metering, resulting in huge losses for the City.

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Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  water

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