Two City of Joburg officials will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on charges relating to allegations of attempting to solicit a bribe from an Auckland Park resident.
According to city spokesperson Lucky Sindane, the two officials are hired by an independent contractor that provides electricity disconnection services to City Power.
The pair allegedly approached the resident on Friday, claiming that his municipal account was in arrears and they had come to disconnect the electricity supply to the property.
They allegedly told the resident that if he gave them R2 000, his electricity would not be disconnected.
They arranged to meet him at Campus Square shopping centre where he would withdraw the money.
The resident informed the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Services team, which set up a sting operation with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department.
Sindane said it was not the first arrest the administration had carried out after several tip-offs that officials hired by City Power contractors were soliciting bribes.
They pretend the residents being scammed were in debt and were due for disconnection.
“Recently we found an official who worked for a contractor trying to solicit a R3 000 bribe from a resident in Midrand. In many cases, we find that the residents being scammed aren’t even in debt.”
If residents suspect someone is trying to bribe them, they should call the 24-hour tip-off hotline, Sindane said.
The city’s investigations suggested this practice had been going on for years, but had not been addressed, he added.
Mayor Herman Mashaba said: “I am disturbed that this is becoming a trend in Johannesburg. We will not hesitate to terminate the services of contractors found to be involved in illegal activities. A search of the two officials revealed they didn’t have a job card for the property.”