Monday, 15 November 2021: Eight suspects have been arrested for theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure across Gauteng between the months of October and November 2021. 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 suspects’ arrests were effected as a result of a partnership between Eskom, South African Police Service (SAPS) and members of various communities as they understand the impact that this has on their lives, the economy and Eskom’s ability to sustain services to them.
There are different types of electricity-related criminal acts that are prevalent namely, fraud, 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, conducting illegal connections and/or using electricity in an unregistered meter is punishable with imprisonment as stated in the Criminal Matters Amended Act No. 18 of 2015. Material theft and vandalism of electricity equipment undermines Eskom’s ability to deliver on its service delivery mandate. Copper 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.
“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”, said Kith Maitisa, Safety, Health, Environment, Quality and Security Manager. Members of the public are requested to report criminal activities such as illegal connections, theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure to authorities or to the Eskom Crime Line on 0800 112 722.