Thursday, 4 August 2022: Three cable thieves were brought to book and sentenced to a total of 39 years imprisonment for stealing more than 564 kg of Eskom’s aluminium overhead conductor in 2018. The three men were sentenced on 11 July 2022, after they were convicted on possession of stolen property in line with the Criminal Matters Amendment Act 18 of 2015. The Boksburg North Regional Court sentenced Bafana Masilela and Antonio Munyathi, each to 12 years direct imprisonment and Gutu Gumba to 15 years direct imprisonment.
The three were arrested on 28 November 2018 in a sting operation at a scrap yard in Boksburg, after the scrap dealer tipped off an Eskom security contractor. A sting operation which led to the arrest of the three cable thieves was set up between the scrap dealer, security contractor and the police at the scrap yard. The convicts remained in custody since their arrest and appeared 47 times in court before they were sentenced. Kith Maitisa, the Eskom SHEQS Manager in Gauteng, has welcomed the sentence given to the convicts and expressed appreciation for the exemplary action by the scrap dealer and for the swift response of the security contractor and the police. Maitisa also noted the diligence displayed by the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) for ensuring a tight case that successfully convicted the criminals despite its long duration. “Theft of cables, overhead lines, transformers and conductors costs Eskom approximately R4 billion per year. The arrests and convictions are an indication of what we can achieve if we collaborate with different stakeholders to fight electricity crime,” concluded Maitisa.
The power utility urged all those who may be aware of any form of electricity-related 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.