Electricity distribution infrastructure theft
Electricity theft does not consist only of generated electricity being stolen – infrastructure theft is much more than just an inconvenience.
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.
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.
“The same can be said for schools, where learning can be disrupted due to the lack of electricity.
And puts jobs at risk
“Productivity in businesses comes to a grinding halt when there is a power cut and ultimately, jobs are put at risk. Electricity theft has a terrible ripple effect across many areas of society.”
Organised crime syndicates are involved
Eskom receives a consolidated monthly report of network nnfrastructure crime compiled from incidents across the country. The reports paint a picture of rampant theft by what looks to be organised crime syndicates. For instance, 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. In a separate incident, two suspects were arrested in Zuurbekom, Gauteng, after being found in possession of 300 metres of copper cable estimated at R27 000. The arrests were the result of a tip off (link to tip off story) received from a member of the public.
“These are some of the many cases we face every day in different parts of the country. Our core business is electricity generation, but we are forced to factor law-enforcement into our operations to try and stall the criminals. Our success depends heavily on the tip-offs we receive from members of the public,” says John.
Keep on reporting electricity theft anonymously to Crime Line on 32211 at R1 for an SMS.