Alert staff catch high-voltage cable thieves

2017-04-26 06:00

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THE Eskom Security Investigations team recently arrested four men found in possession of stolen overhead conductor cable in Howick.

The arrest came after three of the suspects were observed leaving an area where a high-voltage overhead power line had just been cut.

“Our security officers were conducting routine surveillance when they noticed sparks in the night sky along Petrus Stroom Road in Dargle, near Howick in KZN,” said Tebogo Rakau, Divisional Executive for Security at Eskom.

The sparks caught the attention of the security officers because of the power lines that run in that area. When they approached to investigate, they saw three men who seemed to be waiting next to the road.

A few hours later, a white minibus was seen travelling towards the waiting men. When it stopped, the men started loading what looked like rolls of cable into the minibus, explained Rakau.

“The quick reaction of our officers ensured that all suspects, including the driver of the minibus, were arrested on the scene,” he said.

A search of the vehicle and the suspects revealed 10 rolls of stolen copper conductor cable, hacksaws, side cutters, large pliers and a 9mm Norinco pistol.

All evidence and the suspects were handed to the Howick SAPS.

“Even though the thieves were apprehended very quickly, significant damage to important infrastructure had already occurred. In this case, it disrupted power distribution between Howick and Midmar Dam, which supplies water to large parts of KZN, including Pinetown, Cato Ridge and Umlazi,” Rakau added.

“This demonstrates the far-reaching effects of cable theft. It is not only power supply that’s affected. Other essential services such as water supply, health-care services and learning at schools are also disrupted when electricity infrastructure like power lines and transformers are damaged or stolen.

“While Eskom remains resolute in the fight against cable theft, we implore each resident to play their part in protecting the public infrastructure that we all benefit from. This can be done by reporting those involved in this crime by sending anonymous SMS tip-offs to
the crime line, 32211.”
- Supplied.

Our security officers were conducting routine surveillance when they noticed sparks in the night sky along Petrus Stroom Road in Dargle, near

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