City of Johannesburg uncovers illegal water connections in plush Waterfall Estate

2018-05-29 16:58
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Jabu Kumalo

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba. Picture: Jabu Kumalo

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Instead of dilapidated and hijacked buildings in the CBD, the plush Waterfall Estate in Midrand became the latest target of the City of Johannesburg's fight against fraud and illegal connections.

Mayor Herman Mashaba said the City's Group Forensic and Investigation Services (GFIS) Unit and the Operation Buya Mthetho team had recovered R8.2 million from several developers who had illegally-connected water meters in the estate and who stole water from the City.

Spokesperson for the City's GFIS Unit Lucky Sindane, said the unit and the Operation Buya Mthetho team established that a number of water meters were installed at the estate without the standard procurement processes.

"It is clear that officials from the City assisted these developers in illegally obtaining these water meters and connected them so that they could carry on with their developments," Sindane said.

"Unfortunately, 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."

"This practice amounts to the contravention of water and electricity supply by-laws and carries hefty fines for property owners and developers," he said.

Sindane said the City lost between R5bn and R8bn annually due to revenue leakages and accounts being deleted from the City's billing system.

He added that the City's forensic and investigation service couldn't reveal the details of the developers yet because they hoped to make arrests in the next few days.

Sindane said, since being established, Operation Buya Mthetho had collected more than R400 million in revenue, which had previously not been billed by the City.

"Operation Buya Mthetho is a multi-departmental operation aimed at enforcing by-laws and bringing the rule of law to the City of Johannesburg. The operation targets properties across Johannesburg that are not paying for municipal services," he said.

"The City will continue to intensify its efforts to stop revenue leakages and improve revenue collection to enhance service delivery."

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