Eskom Senior Shift Supervisor from the Matla Power Station and a heavy fuel oil (HFO) tanker driver were arrested for fraud and theft of the HFO.
According to Eskom, the arrests were effected on Wednesday, July 19, after information was received that tanker drivers were involved in the theft of fuel oil at Matla Power Station.
“The drivers would offload the fuel oil at unknown locations before arriving at the power station. The tankers would then enter the power station empty. Weighbridge slips would be fraudulently registered and printed as if the ordered oil/fuel product was offloaded. Delivery notes are then signed off,” the power utility said.
Eskom said it pounced on the accused after a thorough internal investigation that started in December 2022 was conducted, supported by the Bidvest Protea Coin Investigation team.
The team is contracted to Eskom to investigate coal, diesel and fuel oil theft cases, evidence obtained led to the arrest of an Eskom Senior Shift Supervisor from the Matla Power Station and an HFO tanker driver.
“The arrest was made by the South African Police Service (SAPS),” Eskom said, adding that the accused were charged and brought before the Kriel Magistrate’s Court on July 20.
“Theft is classified as an act of dishonesty that violates the conduct expected from Eskom’s employees. All employees are at all times expected to behave honestly and in the interest of their employer as part of their contract.”
Eskom has described the theft of fuel oil as a highly organised criminal activity, and the syndicates involved are being enriched through the proceeds derived from the illicit trade of the stolen products.
“Eskom continues to lose billions of rand due to the misappropriation and adulteration of these critical commodities, which directly affects production.”
Meanwhile, the entity said it will provide the required support to the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to ensure that the suspects are successfully prosecuted and that a stiff sanction is meted out, as a favourable outcome will serve to deter other would-be offenders.
Eskom has also urged the public to report information regarding the theft of coal, fuel oil, and diesel to the Eskom Crime Line: 0800 11 27 22.