Eskom recovers stolen infrastructure worth R5m, 1 person arrested

2018-07-13 19:34
Electricity pylons. (iStock)

Electricity pylons. (iStock)

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Eskom recovered more than R5m worth of stolen infrastructure, including cables, at a site in Muldersdrift, west of Johannesburg, it said in a statement on Friday.

The power utility's divisional executive of security, General Tebogo Rakau, said one person had been arrested for dealing and being in possession of stolen property.

Eskom's investigating team and the South African Police Service (SAPS) embarked on a special operation that led them to the site in Muldersdrift, where Eskom aluminum and copper cables were recovered.

Rakau said it was worrying that such a large number of cables had been recovered, adding that it pointed to an organised criminal syndicate.

Clamping down on infrastructure theft

He said Eskom and the SAPS would intensify their fight against infrastructure theft, that not only plagued the power utility, but other state-owned entities such as Transnet and Prasa.

"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," he said.

"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," said Rakau.

Rakau said investigations were ongoing and that Eskom was hoping for a successful prosecution of the culprits involved.

He said copper theft cost the economy between R5bn and R7bn a year, while Eskom spent in the region of R2bn a year replacing stolen copper cables.

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