Eskom has recovered R5 million worth of stolen Eskom infrastructure, including aluminium and copper cables in Muldersdrift, Johannesburg.
Following the recovery, a suspect has been arrested for dealing and being in possession of stolen property.
According to the parastatal, the arrest took place after the power utility’s investigation team, in collaboration with the South African Police Services (SAPS), embarked on a special operation that led them to Muldersdrift where the stolen Eskom aluminium and copper cables were recovered.
Eskom’s Divisional Executive for Security, General Tebogo Rakau said the monetary value of the material recovered is a cause for concern as it is indicative of organised, syndicate-driven criminal activity.
However, Rakau warned that the serious scourge of infrastructure theft affecting not only Eskom but other state-owned entities such as Transnet and PRASA as well as municipalities must end.
To achieve this, Eskom and the SAPS have intensified the fight against this crime at a national level and more interventions are being planned and will be rolled out in the near future.
Rakau said investigations related to the incident are ongoing and that Eskom is looking forward to a successful prosecution and sentencing of the culprits involved. Read more: Outages caused by illegal activity, warns Eskom
While copper theft costs the economy between R5 billion and R7 billion a year, Eskom spends in the region of R2 billion a year replacing stolen copper cables.
“It might seem like the only victims of cable theft are organisations like Eskom and municipalities who have to bear the cost of replacing stolen cable and damaged infrastructure. But the effects suffered by society can be even worse, including prolonged power outages which impact businesses, and ultimately lead to job losses. Unplanned power outages resulting from cable theft also affect healthcare services at clinics and endanger the lives of people who are on life support equipment at home,” said Rakau.
Rakau urged all those who know of infrastructure theft perpetrators to help bring them to book by coming forward and reporting them anonymously.
“We urge all South Africans to play a role in the fight against these under-reported but serious crimes by sending their anonymous SMS tip-offs to Crime Line on 32211. We can all play a role in stopping the perpetrators of infrastructure and electricity theft in their tracks and bringing them to book,” Rakau concluded.