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By Hein Kaiser


Golf club’s water cut for using city’s water for over a decade without paying

Huddle Park faces water supply cutoff as Ekurhuleni unmasks a decade-long illegal connection, using millions of rands worth of city water.

Taps ran dry at the Huddle Park Recreation Centre and Golf Course yesterday afternoon when Ekurhuleni’s water and sanitation department disconnected the water supply.

The clubhouse, restaurant, gym and other facilities have been using the city’s water for more than a decade without paying for it.

The joint operation with the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department cut off an illegal water connection that’s allegedly been siphoning water for just over a decade.

The Huddle Park facility lies on the boundary between Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, making it easy to plug into a water system outside of the city line via an old pipeline, laid prior to renewed municipal demarcation splitting the old Joburg into two metros.

Club Street in Senderwood, on the outskirts of Edenvale, shapes the boundary.

Water loss rate of around 34%

Ekurhuleni has water loss rate of around 34%. International averages for cities of its size normally peaks at 13%.

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An anonymous whistle-blower, who brought the matter to the municipality’s attention, and pointed out the illegal connection, said they were a witness to the original misdeed.

“Ekurhuleni was informed of an illegal connection by one of the properties… at the boundary with the city of Ekurhuleni.

“Investigations discovered and confirmed the connection by doing a series of tests and physical excavations, which confirmed the allegations,” said Ekurhuleni spokesperson Zweli Dlamini.

The golf club and its amenities receive potable water via an unmetered supply line at the expense of taxpayers of a different city.

R2.5 million worth of water used

“We estimate Huddle Park has used water in the region of around R20 000 every month which translates to quarter of a million rand every year,” said Dlamini.

“This means that over the alleged 10-year period, around R2.5 million worth of water was used without paying for it.”

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Huddle Park financial manager Jabu Mabaso denied that the property was using illegal water connected to Ekurhuleni’s infrastructure. He insisted the property paid for all its services.

However, The Citizen has a copy of a Joburg rates bill dated 2022 that showed no water charges to the property, but Mabaso shared a single invoice where a usage estimate of around R100 000 was itemed for water for October 2023.

He was reticent to show more documentation than just a single page.

Mabaso said there was no water meter reading because there was no water meter on the property.

Water counts as critical infrastructure

Democratic Alliance Ekurhuleni whip on water, sanitation and energy, Simon Lapping, said: “Just like electricity, water counts as critical infrastructure and cannot be tampered with.

“Often water losses are blamed on poor maintenance and lacklustre service delivery but, as we have seen at Huddle Park, illegal siphoning of water can cause losses of millions of litres.

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“It’s downright criminal, it’s disgusting what’s been going on here. It must go beyond the recovery of funds.

“It’s simply theft, finish and klaar. The people responsible should answer for their crime in court.”

City officials proved to Mabaso that Huddle Park’s taps run dry when water mains are turned off for the neighbourhood across the road. When the water was turned back on, the taps filled with water.

Gym not billed for water by landlord

The owner of the gym on the property admitted to The Citizen that they do not get billed for water by their landlord, Huddle Park.

When the water was cut during testing, his bathroom taps, cisterns and urinals also ran dry.

The borehole only pumps nonpotable water for watering greens and use at a car wash on the property.

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A switch at a parking lot tap discovered by officials, seemingly allows for switching between Ekhurhuleni’s water supply and the borehole.

“We will be pursuing legal avenues,” said Dlamini.

Huddle Park owner and operator Gordon Brews could not be reached at the time of publication.

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