City of Johannesburg arrests water and electricity thief also disconnects Leeuwkop Prison

The City of Johannesburg on Friday, 11 August, intensified its Credit Control drive, by arresting one business-owner who had illegally connected his business to both water and electricity supply and also shut-down water supply at Leeuwkop Prison for owing the City close to R10 million for water.

The Roodepoort businessman, who runs a glass-making business was arrested by the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) officers at his business premise Stormhill this afternoon. This was part of a sting operation to businesses which are illegally connected to the City’s services.

The establishment owes the City more than R6.4 million for water and electricity services.The multifaceted Credit Control drive was led by the City Manager Floyd Brink, Revenue Department, City Power, Joburg Water and JMPD across the city. The City has warned those who continually connect illegally to its water and electricity services,tamper or vandalise its’s critical infrastructure that that they will face arrests.

The City’s Group Chief Financial Officer, Tebogo Moraka said the City’s current debtor’s book is sitting a close to R47 billion, for rates and taxes, sewer, electricity and water, which unsustainable.

“The Credit Control operation today is just a start of one of many more operations to come. We are aggressively pursuing those customers who owe us and are not coming forward to settle their growing debt, nor come forward to sign the Acknowledgment of debt (AOD) and plead their case. We have no choice but to switch off our services to those not coming forward to pay their arrear debt,” said Moraka.

Moraka said the disconnection of services will also focus on large defaulters and Government Departments in a bid to recover the outstanding debt. According to Moraka this week City was hot on the heels of ten of the City’s worst defaulters, which includes a hotel, large residential estates, panel beating business who collectively owe the City more than a whopping R104 million on unpaid services.

As part of the Credit Control drive this week, the City successfully achieved:

• Eight (8) meters were found illegally reconnected and effected level 3 disconnection on both services (power and electricity). The level 3 disconnection means the City removes its infrastructure which include the meter from the premises.

• The City removed all its water meters from a hotel which owes the City in excess of R28 million

• One account of the old age home owing R26.6 million entered into payment arrangements; and paid 30% deposit of R7.7million and remainder debt payable over 3 months.

• Properties with successfully effected level 3 disconnections will be handed over to the City’s lawyers for litigation process if no payments receipt within 72 hours from the cut-off date.

All property owners who are struggling to service their accounts for various reasons, are advised to approach the City for further assistance, by means of payment arrangements (Acknowledgement of Debt sign off) to avoid disconnection of services.

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