Two of the suspects were caught in the act by Eskom’s investigation team while they were in the process of cutting aluminium cable from a network line that was lying on the ground.
According to Eskom the suspects had earlier cut seven wooden poles from the lines which caused the network line to collapse. The Eskom investigation team, backed by additional colleagues, searched the area and found 3 375 meters of aluminium cable under a tree in the bush.
Upon further investigation, three more suspects, who were meant to transport the stolen Eskom material, were apprehended. The five suspects were all detained and a case of damaging/tampering with Eskom’s essential infrastructure was opened at the Mooinooi Police Station. The case remains under investigation by Mooinooi detectives.
According to Eskom the Mooinooi and Marikana areas have been plagued by a bout of aluminium conductor thefts in recent months.
Far reaching effects
“Even though the thieves were ultimately apprehended, significant damage to important infrastructure had already occurred and this has far-reaching effects,” says Tebogo Rakau, Divisional Executive for Security at Eskom.
“It is not only power supply that is affected. Other essential services such as water supply, healthcare services and learning at schools are also disrupted when electricity infrastructure like power lines and transformers is damaged or stolen. Innocent people, particularly children, as well as animals can also be exposed to danger and even die when they get into contact with low-hanging cables left behind by infrastructure thieves,” he adds.
“While Eskom remains resolute in the fight against cable theft, we implore each resident to play their part in protecting the public infrastructure that we all benefit from. This can be done by reporting those involved in this crime by sending anonymous SMS tip-offs to Crime Line on 32211,” Rakau concludes.