Two employees of state power utility Eskom have been arrested along with two foreign nationals for alleged conductor theft.
In a statement on Thursday, Eskom said the four suspects were nabbed at a scrap metal dealership in the far east of Johannesburg on Wednesday.
Motlhabane Ramashi, Eskom’s senior manager for maintenance and operations in Gauteng, said the Eskom employees were tracked to the dealership.
Conductor ‘worth R468,000’
He added, “[They were] waiting in an Eskom truck loaded with aluminium conductor estimated at R468,000 and intended to be delivered at the scrapyard.
“The South African Police Service (SAPS) were called and on arrival, a search was conducted and additional Eskom conductors were found inside the dealership. The police subsequently made arrests.”
Ramashi said Eskom will also take the two employees through a disciplinary process. The two foreign nationals were employed by the leadership, he added.
“We are disappointed and concerned that more of our own are implicated in alleged theft of our own material, but we will root out the rot even if it comes from within,” Ramashi vowed.
Second case in a week
This is the second instance of an Eskom employee being caught for alleged cable theft in just over a week.
On 22 January, another employee was similarly tracked down to another scrap metal dealership, also in the east of Johannesburg.
Ramashi said at the time that the employee had “delivered 108 metres and 160 metres (11 kV and 22 kV respectively) of copper estimated to the value of R280,000, using an Eskom truck.”
He thanked members of the community for the tip-offs that led to the arrests and urged others to report similar suspicious activities.
Those with tip-offs, which may include pictures taken when it is safe to do so, can send them anonymously to Crime Line on 32211. Alternatively, they can contact Eskom’s call centre on 0860037566.
Eskom added that cable theft results in prolonged power outages which affect businesses, essential services and normal day-to-day activities.