R5,1 mln in fuel stolen

2015-06-03 10:38

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THEFT of fuel by unscrupulous Msunduzi employees has cost the municipality R5,1 million over a period of about a ­decade.

This emerged in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday when former Msunduzi worker Phiwokuhle Magubane (51) admitted that he stole R100 000 worth of fuel from Msunduzi between May and August 2014.

Magubane was sentenced to pay a fine of R12 000 (or undergo 12 months ­imprisonment), in addition to two years’ imprisonment which were conditionally suspended for five years by magistrate A. Dathoo yesterday.

She took into account that Magubane had shown some remorse by admitting to the theft yesterday, after he initially pleaded not guilty.

He was charged with theft of fuel ­totalling R242 000, but state prosecutor Sabelo Tembe said yesterday the prosecution accepted the accused’s admissions to theft of the lesser amount.

He said Magubane’s denials changed after the state produced video footage in which he could be seen buying fuel with his petrol card and thereafter draining the petrol into containers.

Magubane admitted that as a community health worker he had been issued with a petrol card by Msunduzi Municipality, and that he abused the privilege. He had used the card to buy fuel, and thereafter drained the petrol from his ­vehicle into containers and sold it.

Msunduzi executive manager of internal audit Petros Mahlaba said the problem of theft of fuel by Msunduzi dated back to 2004.

He said up until last year, the thefts had cost Msunduzi an estimated R5,1 million.

Currently 20 cases, similar to those of Magubane, are still under investigation.

Mahlaba said Msunduzi had last year stopped issuing petrol cards to employees.

Passing sentence, the magistrate said the offence was extremely serious.

She said Magubane had abused a ­relationship of trust between himself and his employers, and said the sentence passed should teach him a lesson, while also offering him an opportunity to be ­rehabilitated.

She took into account that he lost his job and that he is unemployed, as well as the fact that he has five children to support. The youngest child is five years old

Read more on:    msunduzi municipality  |  pietermaritzburg

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