Eskom has welcomed the conviction and sentencing of three cable thieves, who stole at least 564kg of the power utility’s aluminium overhead conductor cable.
According to Eskom, Bafana Masilela, Antonio Munyathi and Gutu Gumba stole the cable in 2018 and were arrested following a tip-off to the power utility.
“The three were arrested … in a sting operation at a scrapyard 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 scrapyard. The convicts remained in custody since their arrest and appeared 47 times in court before they were sentenced.
Masilela and Munyathi were sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, while Gumba was sentenced to 15 years.
Eskom Gauteng safety, health, environment, risk and quality manager Kith Maitisa commended the National Prosecuting Authority for netting a conviction and hefty sentence.
Theft of cables, overhead lines, transformers and conductors costs Eskom about R4-billion/year. “The arrests and convictions are an indication of what we can achieve if we collaborate with different stakeholders to fight electricity crime,” Maitisa said.