At least eight people have been arrested in relation to theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure in Gauteng over the past two months.
That is according to state power utility Eskom.
The entity said the arrests are the fruits of a collaborative effort between itself and the South African Police Service (SAPS) and members of the community.
“The arrests follow Eskom’s efforts to address the increasing incidents of illegal electricity-related activities in the province. Sadly, two suspects lost their lives due to electrocution as they tampered with the electricity equipment in separate incidents,” the utility said in a statement.
Eskom said acts such as the theft of cables and vandalism of equipment hampers its ability to deliver on services.
“Copper [cable] theft costs the economy between R5 and R7 billion a year, and Eskom spends about R2 billion a year replacing stolen cables. Eskom in Gauteng continues to heighten security in hot spot areas across its areas of supply as cable theft often leads to prolonged power outages and compromises the quality of supply, which affects businesses, essential services, as well as the day-to-day lives of society.
“Such acts of criminality result in loss of revenue for Eskom, are unsustainable for the economy and endanger the lives of innocent people, including those of perpetrators,” the utility said.
Eskom said the prevalent types of electricity-related criminal acts are:
- Stealing of electricity;
- Theft and vandalism of equipment;
- Unpaid bills and buying electricity from ghost vendors;
- Stealing electricity for personal use or third party consumption; and
- Conducting illegal connections and/or using electricity in an unregistered meter.
Eskom Safety, Health, Environment, Quality and Security Manager Kith Maitisa said the utility is working towards finding solutions to keep the utility’s infrastructure safe.
“We are investigating and implementing alternative measures that will assist us to prevent the theft and vandalism of our equipment. We also would like to thank communities that report such acts to Eskom and to the SAPS. With the collaboration with the law enforcement agencies, we will ensure that these criminals are arrested and brought to book.”
Report criminal activities such as illegal connections, theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure to law authorities or contact the Eskom Crime Line on 0800 112 722.
Mzukona Mantshontsho is the founder of Nyakaza Media Solutions. Nyakaza Media Solutions is an organisation that was established to help community organisations, business entities, and schools to research, write, document, report, analyse, edit, publish newsletters or bulletins in hard-copy, on-line and maintain websites with the relevant content as per the editorial policy of that organisation, school or entity.
Nyakaza Media Solutions has a vision to promote and bring dialogue to communities, businesses and schools about issues that affect them.
Nyakaza Media Solutions is on a mission to develop and encourage communities, businesses and learners to celebrate the good, applaud excellence, welcome growth, strive to be better individuals, businesses and communities, want more knowledge, discourage bad and counter-productive behaviour as well as communities, businesses and learners that want to be great SOUTH AFRICANS.
Nyakaza Media Solutions is making use of Yo School Magazine as a platform that learners in all schools to make use of to write their stories.