Reward for whistleblowers

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By MATT MEDVEDpage_6706447

The City of Cape Town is to reward the four whistleblowers who busted an illegal water connection in Philippi that has diverted R2.247 million worth of water since August 2004.

The four Philippi farmworkers, led by the chairman of the Philippi Farmworkers Informal Settlement Urban Development Council, Abraham Fransman, will each receive a cheque for R2 000 from mayor Helen Zille today.

The city council has laid a charge of theft against the two implicated Philippi farmers, a father and son, with the police and expect to recover the stolen funds. The two have also been registered as debtors by the council.

“It was a vigilante operation,” said the city’s principal internal auditor, Andrew Jordaan. “The whistleblowers were actually originally in-volved in the digging of the trenches and diversion of the water. The farmer was paying them in water, which he was selling for 5c a litre.”

Jordaan said the farmers had allegedly used five different pipes to funnel 245 816 litres of water into their dams for the purposes of irrigation and profiteering. He said the operation had begun during the drought in 2004 with the installation of a 40ml pipe within a 100ml PVC pipe to “feed off” the main water supply.

He said Fransman had alleged that the elder farmer had begun the operation after one of his sons was shot dead in an attempted robbery in 2004.

The whistleblowers had reportedly been fed up with the living and working conditions and alerted the city.

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~ by Matt Medved on May 28, 2007.

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