One of the biggest threats to uninterrupted and reliable electricity supply is the ongoing theft of electricity distribution infrastructure.
Throughout South Africa, Eskom spends enormous amounts of time and money tracking criminals responsible for disabling and stealing Eskom cables and conductors, which are sold at scrapyards.
Electricity and infrastructure theft are among the biggest causes of unplanned power outages and have an impact on both the economy and society.
Infrastructure theft endangers lives and the economy
Dileep John, Head of Eskom’s Operation Khanyisa says: “When we experience an unplanned power outage due to infrastructure theft, criminals seem oblivious to the fact that they are putting many lives at risk.
“In some parts of the country, where some clinics do not have generators, a power cut can disable critical machinery and endanger the lives of patients.
“Productivity in businesses comes to a grinding halt when there is a power cut and ultimately jobs are put at risk.”
Organised crime syndicates are involved
Orkney, North West
In Orkney, North West, a group of 15 armed suspects held up security guards at Eskom Security premises and made off with copper cables worth approximately R200 000.
In Mpumalanga, criminals cut through two fences to gain access to a farm in Delmas and stole a large copper cable from a transformer.
Two suspects were arrested in Zuurbekom, Gauteng after being found in possession of 300 metres of copper cable valued at about R27 000.
Tip offs from public
The arrests were the result of a tip off (link to tip off story) received from a member of the public.
Forced to factor in law enforcement
Eskom’s core business is electricity generation, but the power utility is forced to make use of law-enforcement agencies in an attempt to curb the scourge of infrastructure theft. Their success depends heavily on tip-offs from the public.
Keep on reporting electricity theft anonymously to Crime Line on 32211 at R1 for an SMS.