Pretoria - The City of Tshwane will not lift its foot off the pedal until debtors and clients “stealing” its water and electricity start paying for the services, spokesperson Lindela Mashigo has said.
He had joined officials led by Cali Phanyane who were disconnecting water and electricity to homes and businesses whose municipal accounts were in arrears.
Mashigo and Phanyane sent artisans to disconnect water and electricity to properties that had illegally reconnected after being cut off.
They disconnected business properties owing R237 000, R250 000 and R251 000 in Menlo Park, and a guest house found to have illegally connected water.
A commercial residential property had the electricity cable between the street pole and its buildings removed by the team. Phanyane asked the owner to explain how he got his property reconnected again. The man said he had paid R6 000 to reconnect, a figure Phanyane ridiculed, saying the City would not allow a business owing over R250 000 to just pay R6 000.
Yesterday alone, Tshwane dealt with 263 accounts with a collective debt of R77 388 388.
Mashigo said: “These people who reconnected their water and electricity illegally not only undermined the rule of law, but sabotaged service delivery. This is a total disregard for the efforts made by other struggling property owners and tenants who paid for their services, and for that they will be issued hefty fines on top of their bill.
“In the previous instalment of this campaign to recoup R17 billion owed to the City, some officials who reconnected properties illegally were arrested. Authorities will investigate and those found to have had a hand in breaking the law will be dealt with; the City will not tolerate such criminality.”
Mashigo said it was safer to approach the City to make arrangements to pay than to rely on criminals to reconnect water and electricity because the nine teams that went out yesterday across all seven regions have other members who secretly go to check that the properties did not reconnect illegally. They were also taking pictures of the meter readings after cutting supply. This assisted the City to know who tampered with their meters.