JOHANNESBURG– The City of Joburg said on Wednesday that it had recovered about R80 million worth of infrastructure material that was stolen from its power utility, City Power, including transformers, warning boards, overhead lines, circuit breakers, joint boxes, street lights and poles.
MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Nico de Jager, said that the stolen goods were seized during a joint operation by the South African Police Service (SAPS) detective service, Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and the City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS).
The raid came after GFIS received a tip off from a member of the public that City Power’s infrastructure material provided to the contractors and sub-contractors for daily maintenance and repairs, and major projects, was not returned to City Power’s stores upon completion of projects.
Contractors are required to return the unused and replaced material upon completion of work as per the terms of the contract entered into with City Power.
Speaking during a media briefing at City Power’s headquarters in Booysens, Johannesburg, De Jager said that 12 properties belonging to the contractors and sub-contractors were pointed out to GFIS by the whistle-blower.
“The team of investigators from GFIS conducted preliminary investigation and established that the City Power infrastructure was indeed kept at these properties. Ten search warrants were obtained. GFIS, SAPS and the JMPD conducted operations at the 10 properties, which are situated in Midrand, Kempton Park, Aeroton and Winchester Hills,” De Jager said.
“Some of the material recovered from the properties include transformers, warning boards, overhead lines, street light fittings, fuses, circuit breakers, joint boxes, termination kits, street lights and street poles. I was also informed that some of the material (transformers) found its way to other provinces such as Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mpumalanga.”
De Jager said some of these contractors colluded with officials from City Power and received surplus material, which they use for contracts outside Johannesburg.
“In one of the properties, material belonging to City Power was discovered, but the contractor was not providing services to City Power,” De Jager said.
“When the team quizzed the son of the owner of the property who was found on the premises, he revealed that the marked drums which belong to City Power was destined to be used in other municipalities such as Ekurhuleni and Emalahleni respectively.”
De Jager said that GFIS was committed to fight fraud and corruption, and maladministration in the City, those that are found to be involved in criminal activities will face the full might of the law.