Joburg man arrested over sale of illegal electricity vouchers

2017-01-23 18:07
(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

(Gianluigi Guercia, AFP)

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Johannesburg - A man was arrested for selling illegal prepaid electricity vouchers in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg, Eskom said on Monday. 

In a joint operation, police and the Hawks searched the suspect's residence and found 598 illegal prepaid vouchers. 

They also found R8 500 in cash.

A case of fraud related to "ghost vending" was opened with the police.

"Ghost vending refers to the selling of illegal prepaid electricity vouchers. It is called ghost vending because the revenue from those sales does not come to Eskom," Eskom's head of Operation Khanyisa, Dileep John, said. 

Operation Khanyisa is an Eskom-led campaign established in 2010 in partnership with Crime Line, Proudly South African, Business Unity South Africa, Business Against Crime South Africa and the South African Local Government Association. 

Others organisations associated with the campaign include AgriSA, the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA). 

The operation has helped reduce Eskom's losses in electricity from 7.12% in 2013 to 6.43% in 2016, which translates to a saving of R1.4bn every year.

'Not a victimless crime'

The campaign has also led to a series of arrests in recent weeks in cases involving cable theft.

It has received more than 17 000 tip-offs about electricity theft in the country. 

John said the buying and selling of illegal prepaid electricity vouchers was a crime that had taken root in many parts of the country. 

"Many might think it's a victimless crime, only affecting Eskom. But this is not the case. The loss of revenue suffered by Eskom due to this crime contributes to the need for the national power utility to increase the tariffs charged to paying customers. The price for ghost vending is, therefore, paid by society as a whole," John said.

In a separate incident, four other suspects are facing lengthy prison sentences after they were found guilty of more than 16 000 counts of electricity theft. 

They were arrested in 2012.

Sentencing in the case will commence on February 13.

The public can send anonymous tip-offs via SMS to 32211 (R1/SMS). 

Read more on:    eskom  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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