Some of Johannesburg’s major shopping malls, hotels, real estate agencies and car dealers have allegedly been colluding to defraud the city of more than R200 million, The Saturday Star reported.
An investigation into council staff involved in fraudulent activities had led to the arrest of 18 people so far, the newspaper reported.
“The arrests relate to fraudulent activities such as manipulation of property valuation rates, tampering with meters and illegal connections of water and electricity,” council spokesman Nthatisi Modingoane was quoted as saying.
The probe had implicated several businesses in the city and high profile people, who could not be named.
A detailed report on the investigation into “a massive cartel involving big business” would be released in a month’s time, the city said.
On Thursday, co-operative governance minister Pravin Gordhan said the city had been defrauded in rates and taxes, and that city employees had allegedly been colluding with members of the public to avoid paying water and electricity bills.
This scheme, he said, had resulted in other customers getting inflated bills, as meters were being manipulated.