Companies are stealing us blind‚ City of Joburg initiates clampdown
One Johannesburg company stands accused of being simultaneously found in possession of stolen electricity meters‚ illegally onselling electricity to 14 tenants as well as to another business‚ coupled with suspicious billing anomalies on its account.
Another‚ a shopping mall‚ owed the City R5-million but when the account was revisited‚ charges on the account had been reduced to R2-million.
These are two examples cited by City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba‚ uncovered as part of investigations by a multi-departmental team aimed at enforcing the law.
"I have instructed a team from (the city's) Group Forensic and Investigation Service to investigate these accounts to ensure that this lawlessness is brought to an immediate halt‚" Mashaba said.
Outlining the case that the city will endeavour to make against the first business‚ Mashaba's office said:
- The four stolen domestic prepaid electricity meters were found at a business near the city centre on Wednesday. One meter belonged to the Department of Home Affairs‚ and the others belonged to various addresses identified across the city. - The business premise has a conventional and prepaid meter that illegally supplies power to 14 other prepaid meters used by tenants who are leasing space at the property.
- The property owner is also illegally redistributing electricity to another business premise nearby at a charge of R21‚000 per month.
- An investigation into the account of the property revealed monies owed to the city to the tune of approximately R560‚000 at the beginning of March 2018. By the end of March 2018‚ the property was owing the city R60‚000 despite no payment being made on the account. Mashaba said‚ "There are various cases of this nature that are currently under investigation as officials increase their efforts" to combat bylaw infringements.
Government workers who may be complicit in theft from the city will not be excluded from investigations.
"Whoever is working with businesspeople to write off debt to the city illegally‚ will be caught and face the full might of the law‚" said Mashaba.