Eskom’s investigation team arrested five suspects on Monday for damaging Eskom’s essential infrastructure, valued at approximately R1 million (approx. $73,930).
The task team made the arrest in Mooinooi next to the Samancor Chrome Mine in the North-West province, South Africa.
Copper cable theft
Two suspects were caught while they were busy cutting aluminium cable from a network line that was lying on the ground.
The suspects had earlier cut seven wooden poles from the lines, which caused the network line to collapse.
After receiving back-up from their colleagues, the Eskom investigation team searched the area and found 3,375 meters of aluminium cable under a tree in the bush.
Upon further investigation, three more suspects who were in charge of transporting the stolen Eskom material, travelling in a motor vehicle, were apprehended.
The five suspects were all detained and a case of damaging/tampering with Eskom’s essential infrastructure was opened at the Mooinooi Police Station. Read more…
The case remains under investigation by Mooinooi detectives, the utility explained.
Theft on the rise
The arrest of the five suspects came after a sequence of aluminium conductor theft in the Mooinooi and Marikana areas, where suspects had gone undetected for number of months.
Tebogo Rakau, divisional executive for security at Eskom, said: “Even though the thieves were ultimately apprehended, significant damage to important infrastructure had already occurred and this has far-reaching effects.
“It is not only power supply that is 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 is damaged or stolen.”
Rakau added: “Innocent people, particularly children, as well as animals can also be exposed to danger and even die when they get into contact with low-hanging cables left behind by infrastructure thieves.”
Let’s keep our communities safe and report emergency situations, illegal connections and vandalised equipment to @Eskom_SA customer services on 0860037566. Watch: https://t.co/9myaZaqxUt @CityPowerJhb @SowetoUrban @Fourways_Review @AlexNewsZA @CityofJoburgZA
— Eskom Hld SOC Ltd (@Eskom_SA) December 4, 2017
“While Eskom remains resolute in the fight against cable theft, we implore each resident to play their part in protecting the public infrastructure that we all benefit from. This can be done by reporting those involved in this crime by sending anonymous SMS tip-offs to Crime Line on 32211,” Rakau concluded.
Featured image: Stock