International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has accused the Democratic Alliance-run City of Joburg of leaking information to the media and "playing cheap politics" after a media report revealed she owed the municipality for services.
The Sunday Times reported that Sisulu is being sued by the City for unpaid water and electricity bills totaling R537 000, after a tenant at her Bellevue house racked up a bill of R285 000 between 2010 and 2014, with the interest taking it to just over a million rand.
"It is alleged that a former senior official within the city's finance department, who is also said to have connections to the ANC, then issued an unlawful instruction to cancel a portion of the debt owed to the city, in the amount of R285 000. By so doing, the former employee created a credit on the minister's account at the time of the sale of the property," Mashaba is quoted as saying.
Sisulu's spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya told News24 on Sunday that the minister "strongly believe that the City of Johannesburg is playing cheap politics during this time of elections".
Mabaya said Sisulu will continue to defend the matter in court adding this will "expose corruption and corrupt deals between officials and tenants against property owners".
"The city signed an agreement with the tenant to provide him with water and electricity without involving the Minister in the process. The city did not disconnect the electricity or water services when the tenant fell into arrears, or make any attempts to hold him accountable even when the outstanding amount was in excess of R150 000. The city must collect the debt from the tenant whom they signed an agreement with," Mabaya said.
Attempts to get hold of Mashaba's spokesperson Luvuyo Mfeka drew blank with his phone ringing unanswered and messages not yielding any response.
His response will be added once it is received.