The department of water affairs revealed R7 billion worth of water goes unaccounted for every year. This includes illegal water connections.
The revelation follows an arrest by the Hawks on Friday, when a man fraudulently posed as a Joburg Water contractor. A statement released by Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba revealed that the suspect was extorting money from residents with water bills in arrears around Brixton, Westdene, Auckland Park, Sophiatown, Riverlea, Westbury, and Newlands.
“The figure includes illegal water connections,” said director media liaison of the department of water affairs, Sputnik Ratau.
The suspect was arrested while leaving a complex in Sophiatown, having collected R2 000. “
He mainly targeted older people because of their vulnerability and because they never asked for proof of identification,” said Lucky Sindane, spokesperson for the group forensic investigation services.
Despite this being the first case with Johannesburg Water, Sindane expressed his concern at the increasing amount of fraudulent people taking advantage of residents to reconnect services.
“Residents who are in arrears are more likely to be taken advantage of and are more likely to bribe these illegal operators. We suspect that these illegal operators are working with operators from Johannesburg Water to obtain information and details of these residents,” he said.
Ratau warned the public about illegal connections and said that residents should report illegal activity to help minimise corruption.
The Communications manager of Johannesburg Water, Isaac Dhludhlu, said illegal water connections were continuously being resolved by the disconnection unit.