Five City Power employees have been arrested for allegedly stealing drums of cable worth R4.5 million from the Randburg depot in Johannesburg, the power utility said on Tuesday.
The three electricians and two team leaders were arrested on Friday and charged with fraud and theft, City Power managing director Sicelo Xulu said in a statement. "Each of the cable drums stolen carries cable that is 300m long," he said. The employees were also suspended from City Power.
"The arrest of these employees... follows a thorough audit and inventory of cable equipment," he said.
Investigations were under way to determine whether the employees were linked to organised crime syndicates. Xulu said more arrests were expected once the investigation unfolded.
"These arrests are part of our anti-corruption drive that seeks to rid the utility of criminal elements," he said.
A total of 227 people were arrested from July 2013 to June this year for cable theft and the vandalism of electricity equipment. He said 86 percent of those arrested were convicted.
"This year we have seen a significant spike in cable theft and corrupt practices, and in some of these incidents our contractors and employees were implicated."