Five people have been arrested in Mooinooi in the North West for damaging power utility Eskom’s infrastructure‚ valued at approximately R1 million.
The arrests took place after Eskom’s investigation team‚ deployed in Rustenburg‚ caught two suspects while they were busy cutting aluminium cable from a network line that was lying on the ground.
“The suspects had earlier cut seven wooden poles from the lines which caused the network line to collapse. After receiving back-up from their colleagues‚ the Eskom investigation team searched the area and found 3‚375 metres of aluminium cable under a tree in the bush‚” Eskom said in a statement.
Three more suspects‚ who were meant to transport the stolen material‚ were apprehended. The five suspects were all detained and a case of damaging or tampering with Eskom’s essential infrastructure was opened at the Mooinooi police station.
The arrests‚ according to Eskom‚ came after a series of aluminium conductor theft in the Mooinooi and Marikana areas‚ where suspects had gone undetected for a number of months.
“Even though the thieves were ultimately apprehended‚ significant damage to important infrastructure had already occurred and this has far-reaching effects‚” said Tebogo Rakau‚ divisional executive for security at Eskom.
“It is not only power supply that is affected. Other essential services such as water supply‚ healthcare services and learning at schools are also disrupted when electricity infrastructure like power lines and transformers is damaged or stolen.
“Innocent people‚ particularly children‚ as well as animals can also be exposed to danger and even die when they get into contact with low-hanging cables left behind by infrastructure thieves.”
*Report cable theft by sending anonymous SMS tip-offs to Crime Line on 32211