Tuesday, 17 May 2022: Two cable thieves were sentenced to a total of 27 years imprisonment on 3 May 2022, for stealing more than 4 km of Eskom’s aluminium cables, back in 2018. Anye Valentine Nkwenti was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, while Happy Dube was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after they were found guilty in the Bronkhorstspruit Regional Court. The two were caught at Ystervarkfontein in the Welbekend area, while trying to flee in a vehicle which was later impounded. Also found on the crime scene were two wood saws and one hack saw believed to be used in the perpetration of the offence.
The theft of cables, overhead lines, transformers and conductors costs Eskom approximately R2 billion per year. Illegal electricity connections and cable theft often lead 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, and this has a negative impact on the economy. Kith Maitisa, the Eskom SHEQS Manager in Gauteng welcomed the convictions and expressed appreciation for the cooperation between the Eskom employees, the security company and SAPS for apprehending the criminals. “Gauteng experiences a lot of cable theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure. The arrests are part of our heightened efforts to curb criminal acts that affect customers, disrupt people’s livelihoods and the future of the country,” he said.
Maitisa urged all those who may be aware of any form of criminal acts to report them by calling the Eskom Crime Line on 0800 112 722 or the South African Police Services (SAPS). The tip-offs can also be done anonymously.