Our first hero for the year is Bitou Municipality in the Western Cape, which has embarked on an operation to switch off corrupt officials who are stealing electricity.
The auditor-general’s latest annual report highlighted the fact that the municipality experienced a 17% loss in electricity income – more than R9-million – during the previous financial year. An independent service provider was appointed to get to the bottom of the situation.
“Electrical meter boxes that generated no income were identified and it was found that 47 of these meters implicated municipal officials,” said the municipality in a statement. Some of those officials had not paid for electricity for five years.
The municipal manager and a team comprising independent electricians, auditors and the police, visited each of the suspicious properties, and confirmed that the meter boxes had been tampered with..
Disciplinary procedures are being implemented. “If they are found to be guilty of theft they will be dismissed,” said municipal manager Allen Paulse, adding that criminal charges would also be instituted.
For clamping down on corruption, the Bitou municipality is our hero of the week.