Coal thief nabbed, security applauded

Eskom has applauded its security personnel who intercepted an alleged coal thief. Picture: File

Eskom has applauded its security personnel who intercepted an alleged coal thief. Picture: File

Published Jun 11, 2024


Eskom has applauded its security personnel who intercepted an alleged coal thief delivering discarded coal containing stones.

In the past, there had been numerous incidents where poor quality coal was delivered under the pretence that it was legitimate. Now the power utility has vowed to bring coal thieves to book.

On June 8 2024, at about 22:10, the Eskom Group Security Investigation’s tactical team spotted a truck that was loaded with coal to be delivered at an Eskom power station entering a coal yard in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.

The truck left the coal yard after about an hour and the members followed it as it then drove to Arnot Power Station.

On arrival at Arnot Power Station, the truck joined the queue to offload coal.

The Eskom Group Security Investigations team checked and discovered that the coal due to be offloaded was indeed discarded coal containing stones which confirmed the suspected coal swapping witnessed earlier at the Middleburg coal yard.

The driver of the truck was questioned and he confessed that he had sold the coal that was earlier loaded at a mine in eMakhazeni (formerly Belfast) and which was destined for Arnot Power Station, for R6 000.

The driver was immediately arrested by members of the Middelburg Hawks Unit who are currently busy with further criminal investigations supported by Eskom Group Security Investigations.

“We commend the Group Security Investigations and the Middelburg Hawks team for working tirelessly together in bringing coal thieves to book. There is tangible evidence to ensure successful prosecution of the suspect,” said Botse Sikhwitshi, the Acting General Manager for Security at Eskom.

“The delivery of poor-quality coal often leads to unit breakdowns and cannot be tolerated. We hope the perpetrator, once convicted, faces the harshest possible sentence which shall serve as a deterrent to others,” said Sikhwitshi.

Sikhwitshi further said Eskom will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that illegal coal yards are shut down.

Sikhwitshi encouraged members of the public to report information regarding illegal electricity sales, fraud, the theft of coal, fuel oil and diesel, and all other electricity-related crimes to the Eskom Crime Line: 0800 11 27 22. Reporting can be done anonymously.

Meanwhile, last week, Eskom revealed that an infrastructure crime accused was sentenced to 10 years direct imprisonment.

One of the two accused men in the Kriel South African Police Service (SAPS) CAS 96/02/2022 was convicted at the Kriel Magistrate Court for tampering with critical infrastructure and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

The two accused committed the crime during February 2022 at Eskom’s Matla Power Station and were arrested on the evening of 24 February 2022, on suspicion of stealing copper bars and installed copper at a Matla substation, with the assistance of a drone surveillance after initially trying to evade arrest by fleeing the scene.

Both men were granted bail, but the convicted suspect remained in custody from the day of the arrest until sentencing. The other accused skipped bail and a warrant of arrest has been issued for him.

“We commend the internal security investigations and the SAPS Detectives team that work tirelessly together in bringing perpetrators to book. This is one of the many successes to come. We shall deal with all perpetrators without fear or favour and shall ensure all perpetrators face the full might of the law,” said Nomsa Spaumer, Acting General Manager for Security at Eskom.