NATIONAL NEWS - A two year old Hawks led project led to the arrest of 10 suspects for alleged copper theft, Witbank News reports.
The suspects were arrested in Mpumalanga and Gauteng. Closer to home arrests were made in eMalahleni, Ogies, Ga-Nala and Hendrina on Monday, November 26 by an integrated team which included the Hawks, Non-Ferrous Metals, Flash Liquor and Second Hand Services, Mpumalanga Tactical Response Team, Middelburg Visible Policing, Home Affairs and Eskom participated.
“During the swoop members found and confiscated copper cables valued at more than R600 000, weighing scales as well as a sizable amount of money,” said Hawks spokesperson Captain Dineo Sekgotodi.
The project focused on the criminal supply chain of stolen copper cables within Mpumalanga and Gauteng Province mines and power stations as well as private or state owned properties. The copper was allegedly sold at the highest price to recycling companies.
The suspects appeared briefly before courts on Tuesday, November 27. They were all granted bail of between R1 000 and R5 000 and are expected in court again between January 4 and February 8 facing charges of copper cable theft and dealing in line with the Second Hands Goods Act and Criminal Procedure Amendment Act.
The provincial head of the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation Major General Zodwa Mokoena has applauded the collaborative action as a huge success in the fight against theft of copper cables in the country.
“The operation spells hope for the mines and power stations that we are fully committed to eradicate theft of copper cables which is also causing danger to the runners whom some of them can get injured or die. We will continue teaming up with our partners and government departments in carrying out our mandate and arrest those behind the serious spate of copper cables,” said Major General Mokoena.
According to the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), copper theft costs the economy between R5 billion and R7 billion a year.
Eskom said they have experienced losses due to conductor theft, cabling and related equipment totaling R46-million for the year ending March.
“Actions to combat these losses are managed by the Eskom Network Equipment Crime Committee, in collaboration with other affected state-owned enterprises and the South African Police Service,” their media desk responded.
You can report theft of Eskom electricity anonymously on Primedia Crime Line: SMS 32211 (R1/SMS) or email your tip-off at www.crimeline.co.za or use the Eskom crime reporting line: 0800 11 27 22 (toll-free).
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