The City of Johannesburg’s corruption fighters have uncovered graft totalling up to R12-billion‚ The Star newspaper reported on Thursday.

R2-billion of that total has already been unveiled‚ while a further R10-billion is still being investigated.

Shadrack Sibiya‚ who heads the city’s internal investigations‚ told the newspaper that he had been stunned by the level of corruption since his appointment by Mayor Herman Mashaba in November.

But the unit has made some headway.

One of its success stories included the arrest of two people who had colluded with the city’s revenue department in a debt collecting scam. The Hawks and other law enforcement agencies were involved in the arrest.

The former Gauteng Hawks boss explained how one of the syndicates operated.

“For example‚ if you buy a house at an auction and that house has a service bill of R100‚000 for rates and taxes‚ they would get that information and approach the new owner to say: ‘You owe the city R100‚000. We are aware that you bought a house recently. If you pay us 50% of the money‚ we will write off the rest‚'” Sibiya said.

“The monies would be paid into their account‚ which is how they allegedly operated. And this was not their first arrest. They were arrested last year for the same offence. When we arrested them this year‚ they were appearing in court in a similar case.”

Sibiya said the city had scored successful prosecutions‚ citing plea bargain deals that were being negotiated.

He said the unit was determined to recoup ill-gotten funds.