City staff fingered in tap trouble


People living in Dunoon are not feeling the neighbourly love as a number of them accuse their neighbours of paying City of Cape Town employees to install illegal taps in their shacks.

These taps are placing a burden on the water supply in the area, causing community taps to run dry.

Sezeka Mrhwetyana is a community leader in Doornbach.

She said they have been aware of people getting their own taps installed since last year.

“A lot of taps have been installed by City employees with the City’s materials. I have tried to take a picture of them in their trucks but they are clever and they drive away. They have been operating in Doornbach and Siyahlala. They connect pipes from the street taps to the shacks and install the taps inside. We know who the culprits are because the pipes are not hidden, you can follow them from the taps to the shacks,” said Ms Mrhwetyana.

She said the employees demand cash for the job and charge around R500.

She said things got heated last Monday when she was approached by a few residents who complained that the street taps had run dry.

“They wanted the pipes to be cut but I told them the community leaders should have a meeting first to discuss the problem. We had a meeting and decided cutting the taps was the right thing to do. Needless to say, this did not go down well with the people. When we started cutting pipes, people started to expose others who also had illegal taps in their houses.”

Ms Mrhwetyana said they were threatened by a few people who got angry and said they were wasting the money they had spent on the installation.

“My own neighbour paid these men to install a tap in his shack. He said he paid R500 but didn’t know he did anything wrong because they are working for the City. He didn’t mind us cutting his pipes,” she said.

She said when they were done cutting pipes at about 12 shacks, the water pressure at the street taps increased.

Njomatshayina Cekiso lives close to a street tap and says this is the first time there has been problems with the water.

“This is unfair because we have to stand in long queues to get water while others get taps inside their homes. When we confront them when there is no water they say there is no water in their taps either but we know they are lying because ever since the pipes have been cut there has been water again,” said Ms Cekiso.

Dunoon ward councillor, Lubabalo Makeleni said he had been informed by community leaders that people were bribing City employees to install pipes and taps in their shacks. He said he had spoken to a few people who admitted to having paid for their taps. He is currently investigating the issue.

Mayoral committee member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg, said: “The City has a clear policy about the ethical conduct of its staff. We are not aware of this alleged practice, but will investigate and act appropriately if required.

“We continually request our residents to inform us where there are system breakdowns in our service delivery and would urge them to call the City’s Law Enforcement Department on 021 596 1999 immediately should they observe any illegal activity.”