Behind bars. Picture credit: Clipart Kid
Behind bars. Picture credit: Clipart Kid

On Tuesday, a South African woman and her son were sentenced to a combined 54 years in prison after being found guilty for heading up an illegal prepaid electricity syndicate.

The Department of Energy (DoE) said in a statement, that energy minister Mmamoloko Kubayi welcomes the arrest and successful conviction of the two perpetrators.

Prepaid electricity syndicate

The woman was sentenced to 42 years in prison at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 and her sentences will run concurrently.

Maphuthi Jeanette Chiliza, 60, will serve 18 years in prison for managing a criminal enterprise, 12 years for participating in a criminal enterprise in the form of racketeering, 10 years for the theft of a prepaid electricity credit dispensing machine belonging to Eskom and 10 years for numerous counts of theft related to the illegal sale of electricity, the DoE explained.

Her son, Nqobile Chiliza, 25, was found guilty of participating in a criminal enterprise, theft of an Eskom credit dispensing machine and numerous counts of electricity theft. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The Minister also said that the sentences will send a very strong message to those who tempers with electricity and that theft of electricity is a serious criminal offence. Read more…

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.

These efforts are focused on exposing, arresting and prosecuting perpetrators spear-heading these criminal 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. Read more…