Police have arrested one suspect in connection with stolen Eskom infrastructure that includes aluminium and copper cables, worth R5 million in total, that was discovered in Muldersdrift, Krugersdorp News reports.
The arrest took place after the power utility’s investigation team, in collaboration with the police, embarked on a special operation that led them to Muldersdrift, where the stolen materials were found.
Eskom divisional executive for security General Tebogo Rakau said the monetary value of the material recovered was a cause for concern, as it was indicative of organised, syndicate-driven criminal activity.
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, the power utility and the police have intensified the fight against this crime at a national level and more interventions are being planned.
Rakau said investigations relating to the incident were ongoing and that Eskom was looking forward to a successful prosecution and sentencing of the culprits involved.
While copper theft costs the economy between R5 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,” Rakau said.
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.