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Four illegal electricity vendors arrested in two provinces as Eskom and the Hawks intensify efforts to curb electricity theft
Friday, 23 October 2020: In a joint operation with Eskom, the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation Unit arrested four suspects in Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape for dealing in electricity, theft of electricity and money laundering. Three suspects were arrested in Tweefontein and Siyabuswa in Mpumalanga while another suspect was arrested in King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape yesterday. All the suspects appeared in court today.
The suspects were found in possession of electricity customer slips, credit vouchers and meter numbers. The suspects used offline Credit Dispensing Units, and fraudulently and unlawfully issued Eskom electricity vouchers, at a very low price, to members of the public. These crimes are on the increase.
With the support of the Hawks and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), Eskom has intensified its campaign to curb illegal electricity vending and is tracing, and will ensure the arrest and prosecution of all individuals who are involved in this illegal vending. Those who benefit from this theft of electricity and money laundering shall have their assets attached by the AFU, said Advocate Karen Pillay, Eskom’s Acting General Manager for Security.
Buying electricity from non-registered vendors is a crime, and Eskom has been working on projects to ensure that all these illegal vendors and their customers are prosecuted and the scams dismantled. “Consumers who buy electricity from illegal vendors, thereby robbing Eskom and the people of South Africa of much needed revenue, will also be prosecuted when caught, and will have their illegal credits cleared and electricity supply terminated,” said Advocate Pillay.
During the arrests, customer lists were found. The mobile phone used to transmit the credit recharge vouchers to the customers was confiscated and shall be analysed for evidence. “With the assistance of the Hawks, we shall ensure that all individuals involved in illegal sale of electricity are apprehended. We thank all South Africans who continue blowing the whistle on illegal electricity sales,” added Advocate Pillay.
Eskom urges the public to report information regarding illegal vending activities and the whereabouts of the illegal credit dispensing units on the Eskom Crime Line number: 0800 11 27 22.