Induction heater copper coil closeup. Electric wires macro detail

In South Africa, four men have been arrested for possession of stolen overhead conductor cable in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal. National power utility, Eskom, disclosed that the arrest, which was made last week, was made by members of Eskom’s Security Investigations team.

The parastatal highlighted that this activity “demonstrates the far-reaching effects of cable theft.”

“It is not only power supply that’s affected. Other essential services such as water supply, healthcare services and learning at schools are also disrupted when electricity infrastructure like power lines and transformers are damaged or stolen.”

Suspicious electricity tampering

The arrest came after three of the suspects were observed leaving an area where a high-voltage overhead power line had just been cut.

“Our security officers were conducting routine surveillance when they noticed sparks in the night sky along Petrus Stroom Road in Dargle, near Howick in KwaZulu-Natal,” says Tebogo Rakau, Divisional Executive for Security at Eskom.

The sparks caught the attention of the security officers because of the power lines that run in that area. When they approached to investigate, they saw three men who seemed to be waiting next to the road. Read more…

A few hours later, a white minibus was seen travelling towards the waiting men. When it stopped, the men started loading what looked like rolls of cable into the minibus, Rakau explains.

“The quick reaction of our officers ensured that all suspects, including the driver of the minibus, were arrested on the scene,” he remarks.

A search of the vehicle and the suspects revealed ten rolls of stolen copper conductor cable, hacksaws, side cutters, large pliers and a 9mm Norinco pistol. Read more…

All evidence and the suspects were handed over to the Howick SAPS.

“Even though the thieves were apprehended very quickly, significant damage to important infrastructure had already occurred. In this case, it disrupted power distribution between Howick and the Midmar Dam, which supplies water to large parts of KwaZulu-Natal, including Pinetown, Cato Ridge and Umlazi,” Rakau adds.

 

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