Stolen Eskom aluminium and copper cables valued at R5-million have been recovered in Muldersdrift‚ west of Johannesburg‚ the electricity utility said on Thursday.
One suspect has been arrested for dealing and being in possession of stolen property.
The arrest took place after the power utility’s investigation team‚ in collaboration with the South African Police Service (SAPS)‚ embarked on a special operation that had led them to Muldersdrift‚ Eskom said in a statement.
The monetary value of the material recovered is a cause for concern as it is indicative of organised‚ syndicate-driven criminal activity‚ said Eskom’s divisional executive for security‚ General Tebogo Rakau.
Rakau warned that cable theft‚ which is affecting not only Eskom but other state-owned entities such as Transnet and Prasa‚ as well as municipalities‚ must stop.
“It might seem like the only victims of cable theft are organisations like Eskom and municipalities who have to bear the cost of replacing stolen cable and damaged infrastructure. But the effects suffered by society can be even worse‚ including prolonged power outages which impact businesses‚ and ultimately lead to job losses. Unplanned power outages resulting from cable theft also affect healthcare services at clinics and endanger the lives of people who are on life support equipment at home‚” said Rakau.
Eskom spends in the region of R2-billion a year replacing stolen copper cables.
To combat theft of infrastructure‚ the power utility and the SAPS “have intensified the fight against this crime at a national level and more interventions are being planned and will be rolled out in the near future“‚ he said.
Rakau urged all those who know of infrastructure theft perpetrators to report them‚ anonymously‚ to the authorities.
“We urge all South Africans to play a role in the fight against these under-reported but serious crimes by sending their anonymous SMS tip-offs to Crime Line on 32211. We can all play a role in stopping the perpetrators of infrastructure and electricity theft in their tracks and bringing them to book.”