Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Group Five has denied allegations that subcontractors in its employ were illegally using a water point in the Waterfall development in Midrand as a source of water.

This comes after the City of Johannesburg issued a media statement on Tuesday stating that three people had been arrested and three trucks impounded after they were caught stealing 58,000 litres of water from a fire hydrant in the area.

One of the trucks is allegedly owned by the JSE-listed construction company Group Five and the other by Labucon, an empowered civil engineering company.

"In line with standard construction agreements with clients, the group, as well as other partners on the contracts, was instructed by the client at the start of construction on which water sources to use," Group Five said in statement.

"As the constructor on contracts, the group remains under clients’ municipal service agreements through the duration of construction. The client confirmed today that the source used was legal and that it is currently liaising with the authorities to clear up the matter.

"The group therefore has to refer media queries on this matter to the client, as we are not privy to the client’s agreement with service providers," Group Five said.

Business Day has separately established the client is property firm Attacq.

The suspects appeared in the Midrand magistrate’s court on May 11, according to Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba, who was quoted in the statement. Mashaba also said the arrests came barely a week after member of the mayoral committee (MMC) for finance Funzela Ngobeni’s visit to sites in the area.

"During the MMC’s visit last Thursday, it was established that some water meters were not reading, despite continuous use of water," Mashaba had said.

"It is alleged that the truck drivers were sent by their employers to get water from the fire hydrants and use it at the development sites around the Waterfall area.

"It is disturbing to learn that this criminal activity has been going on every day for more than two years. This allegation was confirmed by one of the directors from Labucon, who was on site after the incident," Mashaba said.

The suspects were subsequently arrested by the South African Police Service and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, working together with the city’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service during what was called Operation #BuyaMthetho.