34000 illegal water users warned

THE eThekwini municipality has warned illegal water users as more than 34000 households continue with unlawful connections.

Despite offering amnesty to illegal water users, the council said this conduct was continuing and would no longer be tolerated.

Defaulters in ward 17, 45 and 81 have until June 15 to acknowledge their illegal use of water, pay a R250 tariff rectification fee and become authentic eThekwini Water and Sanitation (EWS) consumers.

The council has been losing about R100million a year from theft of water and illegal connections.

The water and sanitation department said it was determined to clamp down on fraudsters.

EWS head Neil Macleod said that on expiry of the three-month amnesty period, which began in March, they would trace and remove all illegal connections and prosecute those benefitting.

He said the amnesty plan was an attempt to encourage domestic users, who might be illegally connected, to become legal consumers of water.

"The amnesty programme is set to be rolled out through all the wards in the municipal area, with wards 15, 47 and 70 are being tackled next," Macleod said.

"Once legally connected, consumers can arrange to have free water for life by having a flow limiter installed - which ensures that the 9000 litres of water allowed by the municipality are given free of charge to consumers every month."

Macleod said any person found guilty of having unlawful connections would be charged for three years' water consumption.

"This is grossly unfair to the thousands of consumers who pay for water every month," he said. "If you have been using water illegally, now is your chance to do the right thing."

EWS has enlisted the help of ward councillors to spread the message about the water amnesty. Wards in areas like Chatsworth, Umlazi, Ntuzuma and Tongaat have been targeted.

The council urged its residents to report any illegal connection on 0801 313 013, send a SMS or use MXIT on the number 083-707-3013 to report it.