Eskom has welcomed the hefty sentence handed down by the Bronkhorstspruit Regional Court to two men who were found guilty of stealing copper cables, which belong to the power utility.
The two men – Anye Nkwenti and Happy Dube – were sentenced to 12 and 15 years, respectively, behind bars earlier this month after the court found them guilty of possession of stolen property and malicious damage to essential infrastructure .
Eskom bemoaned the theft of critical cable and other infrastructure, which hampers the power utility’s ability to provide quality service.
“The theft of cables, overhead lines, transformers and conductors costs Eskom approximately R2 billion per year. Illegal electricity connections and cable theft often lead to prolonged power outages and compromise the quality of supply, which affects businesses, essential services, as well as the day-to-day lives of society, and this has a negative impact on the economy.”
Eskom Gauteng’s Safety, Health, Environment, Risk, and Quality Manager, Kith Maitisa, said sentences like the ones meted out to the men send a message that transgressors will be punished.
“Gauteng experiences a lot of cable theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure. The arrests are part of our heightened efforts to curb criminal acts that affect customers, disrupt people’s livelihoods and the future of the country,” Maitisa said.
Earlier this year, Eskom revealed that in an effort to clamp down on cable theft and other security related challenges, it has added at least 450 more security guards, and has begun the use of drone and infrared technology.