Electricity theft: Operation Khanyisa saves millions, convicts only five

2013-05-21 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Eskom’s Operation Khanyisa to combat electricity theft is, despite the picture painted by the Public Enterprises Department, not a huge success.

Minister Malusi Gigaba said Eskom had saved more than R200 million by fighting electricity theft, but he conceded that just five electricity thieves had been convicted in recent years.

In answer to a question from Cope MP Beryl Ferguson, Gigaba said that since 2006, when Operation Khanyisa began, 112 suspected electricity thieves had been arrested, but just five had been successfully prosecuted.

He said Eskom had received 6 000 reports of electricity theft in residential areas and at businesses.

The operation was created to fight theft of electricity in co-oepration with the government, Eskom, businesses and communities.

The parastatal works with municipalities to arrest thieves.

Gigaba said a recent case in the North Gauteng High Court, in which two electricity thieves were jailed for 15 and 18 years, could be a watershed.

“The case has altered perceptions of electricity theft. Communities are standing together to act against thieves,” he said.

An Eskom team is busy quantifying losses, and establishing a plan to recover these losses from thieves.

Faulty meters will also be monitored to prevent theft.

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