The Cape Town High Court has sentenced five thieves to a cumulative 1250 years’ imprisonment for 50 counts of copper cable theft-related charges.
The shortest jail term meted out to some of the thieves is a minimum sentence of 15 years.
According to Eskom’s spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha, the stolen copper cables belonged to both Eskom and Telkom.
“They were stolen between 2016 and 2018 in the Namaqualand and Western Cape regions,” said Mantshantsha.
He said two others who were charged in the same matter, died during the trial and were found guilty posthumously.
“We hope that the hefty sentences meted out shall send a strong message to all potential thieves to refrain from targeting Eskom overhead and underground conductor cables,” added Mantshantsha.
“We shall work fearlessly and tirelessly with other industry role players and law enforcement agencies to ensure that all thieves involved in essential infrastructure crimes face the full might of the law,” said advocate Karen Pillay, Eskom’s acting head of security.
“Section 3 of the Criminals Matters Amendment Act stipulates that any person found guilty of essential infrastructure crime such as cable theft shall be liable on conviction to a period of imprisonment up to 30 years.”
Eskom has since urged the public to report information regarding conductor theft to the Eskom Crime Line number 08600-37566