Johannesburg - An official from a contractor providing electricity disconnection services to City Power has been arrested for corruption, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Saturday.
"This morning [Saturday], I was informed of the arrest of an official who attempted to solicit a bribe of R3 000 from a resident in Midrand, north of Johannesburg. The official is from an independent contractor who provides electricity disconnection services to City Power," he said.
The official would appear in the Midrand Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, where she would face a charge of fraud.
The resident’s electricity account was in arrears and she was served with a disconnection notice on Wednesday. It was alleged that the official then approached the resident the same Wednesday afternoon and informed her that she was there to disconnect the electricity. She further indicated that if the client gave her an amount of R3 000 her electricity would not be disconnected.
The resident agreed to pay the money to the official, but said she only had R1 500 and requested that the official return on Friday to collect the remainder of the money. The resident then informed the city’s group forensic and investigation services (GFIS) team which set up a sting operation together with members of the Hawks. The official arrived at the house on Friday to collect the money and the Hawks apprehended her, Mashaba said.
"I am disturbed that this is becoming a trend in Johannesburg. Earlier this month a contractor was also arrested for trying to solicit a bribe of R4 000 from a resident in Helderkruin, west of Johannesburg. I would like to commend the resident who refused to be part of any corrupt activity and reported the matter to our team."
In the context of the city’s billing problems, corruption only served to worsen the difficult circumstances which residents had been forced to live under for years. Under the previous administration, this sort of conduct would have "gone rewarded with a slap on the wrist; no more", he said.
"Corruption has no place in this administration and we will work tirelessly and in collaboration with institutions such as the Hawks to ensure that it is eradicated and that residents of Johannesburg receive the quality services they deserve.
"I would also like to encourage residents to report any fraud and corruption activities through our 24-hour tip off hotline 0800-002-587 or visit the GFIS offices situated at 48 Ameshoff Street in Braamfontein," Mashaba said.