WATCH: Leaked - biggest water bill in Cape Town

01 March 2017 - 09:27 By FARREN COLLINS

An underground pipe burst that was only traced after almost six weeks has led to a water bill of R119,000 for a Cape Town citizen.

As a result of the leak, the man is likely to be Cape Town's highest water consumer, according to a list published by the city council.

The property owner in Haywood Road in Crawford is classified by the council as the city's greediest consumer at 702,000 litres a month.

But neighbour Saleem Gamza said the man being held responsible was not aware that water was leaking underneath his property until he received a bill.

The city only checked his meter at the end of January.

"I know the house and it is not their fault [that] an underground pipe burst," Gamza told The Times, declining to identify his neighbour.

"It was only after their meter was checked and the bill came did they know there was a problem.

"The city told them they couldn't do anything because it [the pipe] was on private property and so they had to get a plumber in to fix it.

"This man is stressing. He feels embarrassed, guilty and victimised, and has concerns over how to pay the bill."

Gamza said that if the city had checked the man's meter when it was scheduled to, the problem would have been detected earlier.

On Monday the city released a list of street names of the top 100 residential water consumers.

According to the list, the five worst perpetrators were in Crawford, Manenberg, Lansdowne and Bishopscourt, all using more than 500,000 litres a month.

Gamza is of the view that the city had "intruded on our privacy by naming the streets. People are hurling abuse at us and it's not fair."

Moegamad Robertson of Boundary Road in Lansdowne said most of the properties on the 300m stretch of road were owned by Muslim families who lived in large groups - but not big enough to get through the 557,000 litres the city claimed one home was using.

"My mom rents her property to four families and her water bill was high at R11,000," Robertson said.

The city council could only refer The Times to a city by-law which states: "No person may negligently, purposefully or wastefully permit pipes or water fittings to leak."