Underground cables

On Monday, three men linked to a cable theft syndicate involved in numerous cable theft incidents in the Free State province have been arrested.

South African state-owned power utility Eskom said in a statement: “The men, thought to be part of a group behind at least eight cases of cable theft that occurred in the towns of Kroonstad, Henneman, Allanridge and Heuningspruit between January and June 2017, were arrested after yet another cable theft incident in Kroonstad on 4 June.”

This arrest follows the capture of two men last week at Eskom’s Zeus substation near Secunda in Mpumalanga for alleged cable theft. Read more…

Cable theft syndicate

According to the parastatal, after a break in energy transmission was detected in the suburb of Gunhill in Kroonstad, Eskom investigators were deployed to investigate.

Investigations and witness tip-offs led to the arrest of the three suspects who were found in possession of a roll of overhead copper conductor cable belonging to Eskom, as well as equipment and tools thought to be used by the suspects to obtain the copper cable.

Two cellphones were also confiscated. “We will use the cellphone records and contact lists to find the rest of the members of this group,” said Tebogo Rakau, divisional executive for security at Eskom.

Rakau added:  “We will continue our hunt for all other members of this syndicate. With help from the public, we will succeed in putting them behind bars and hopefully also put an end to the power outages that we have been experiencing in the affected areas.”

Operation Khanyisa

The anti-theft campaign, Operation Khanyisa, is an Eskom-led initiative, which aims to bring awareness to the dangers around these illegal acts.

Since 2013, Operation Khanyisa has helped reduce Eskom’s losses from 7,12% to 6.43%, which amounts to an estimated R1,4 billion ($68 million) savings every year in electricity that Eskom would have generated at a loss, the utility explained in an earlier statement.

In addition, the campaign has helped in the recovery of R618 million ($42 million) in revenue for Eskom, while at the same time caught those responsible for these crimes. Read more…

Residents are encouraged to report suspected cable theft, which can be done anonymously by sending a detailed SMS tip-off to Crime Line on 32211.