We told you in a previous report that the Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel related that government “will crack down on cable and metal theft from trains and electricity substations.” Based on what Patel said, theft from essential public facilities will be attracting up to 30 years prison sentencing whereas companies that conspire with the thieves will get fat fines of R100 million.
In line with tha above, Eskom announced that five people who were convicted for cable theft were collectively sentence to 140 years in prison.
Stating that they lost more than R2 billion each year to cable theft, Eskom warned that they’ve increased their effort to fight the crime and will show no mercy to whoever is caught stealing cable.
“The thefts occurred mainly in the Free State and Mpumalanga provinces affecting not only Eskom equipment, but Transnet, Telkom and local municipalities as well.
We are taking steps to combat cable theft in collaboration with the joint industry working group formed by Eskom, Transnet, Telkom, the South African Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, Business Against Crime and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry,” the power utility outlet informed.
The cable thieves were identified as Americo Njango, Thabo Mandlas, Orlando Mathebula, Themba Masiya and James Malope. They were reportedly arrested on June 2014 after the police was informed about the crime.
The group was caught in “possession of 10 span overhead catenaries, which had been stolen in the Bosrand area in the Free State.” Reporting this event, News24 related that;
Njango, who was believed to be the syndicate’s leader, was sentenced to 48 years behind bars after being found guilty of eight counts of theft and one of organised crime.
Mandlas was handed a 44 year term of imprisonment on five counts of theft and one of organised crime while Mathebula was given 15 years for his single count of theft.
Masiya was handed 16 years for theft and Malope was given 17 years, also for a single count of theft.