Eskom’s Cable / Copper Theft Crisis

Eskom has lost approximately R1.7 million in the Cape Town since the beginning of the financial year to date. Cable theft hotspots include Inkanini, Zwezwe, Harare, Makhaza and Site B,  Joe Slovo in Milnerton, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Philippi West and Weltevreden Valley.

Eskom’s Zeus substation copper theft arrests

The South African power utility, Eskom, explained that the two were part of a group of five that had been spotted near the substation, which had been a target for copper theft in recent weeks.

Cable thieves arrested in Bot River

Tuesday, 13 September 2016: Eskom’s efforts to stamp out on the apparent increase in incidents of cable theft in the Overberg District in the Western Cape recently paid off dividends when one suspect was apprehended in Bot River whilst a bakkie and the stolen cable was confiscated.

In mid-August, thieves stole strands of Eskom overhead copper conductor valued at approximately R72 000 in Bot River. On investigation, it was immediately discovered that the stolen copper cable had been hidden in the long grass next to a main road.  An Eskom-led security task team chased a bakkie driven by two suspects who had arrived to collect the cable. One suspect was arrested and the other fled on foot. The police believe that his arrest is imminent.

Incidents of cable or copper theft remain a serious concern. This is indicative of organised, syndicate-driven criminal activity in the conductor theft environment, which is also experienced by other state-owned enterprises.

The fight against network equipment theft is being addressed by means of intelligence driven investigations by the Hawks, a division of SAPS, which encompasses aggressive policing of the scrap metal market for stolen goods.

The courts are also taking this crime seriously and significant sentences are being handed out to perpetrators. A joint industry working group, formed by Eskom, Transnet, Telkom, SAPS, the National Prosecuting Authority, Business Against Crime and the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI), continues to contribute positively in the fight against this crime.

Original Content by ESKOM

Eskom says security contractor must be able to probe organised crime

ESKOM is looking for a contractor with a team of sleuth-like investigators to gather intelligence‚ analyse forensic evidence and probe organised-crime networks across the country.

Security contractors have until mid-August to furnish the power provider with evidence of their expertise‚ according to a recently issued tender for “security crime investigations”.

The contract calls for experienced investigators with access to “suitable camera equipment to monitor targeted areas‚ surveillance equipment and cellphone software analysing equipment‚ to analyse confiscated cellphones for investigation purposes”.

They would also need to be plugged into a network of experienced informers.

Eskom spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said on Friday that the tender was advertised to tackle crimes against the parastatal‚ including electricity theft‚ in the form of illegal connections‚ meter tampering‚ bypassing and stolen pre-paid electricity credit dispensing units.

“Eskom is experiencing incidents of armed robberies at the substations and customer network centres. The criminals are targeting these sites for cables‚ copper components and‚ in certain instances‚ the arms of the guards‚” he said.


Phasiwe added that “criminals are involved in the illegal sales of prepaid electricity”.

Eskom’s annual integrated report for 2016 showed that meter audits had resulted in R372m being billed to large and small power customers‚ “to recover revenue unbilled owing to meter tampers‚ faulty or vandalised metering installations or customers not correctly loaded on the system”.

Fines of R33m were extracted from prepaid customers who had tampered with their electricity meters, and 3,565 tipoffs regarding electricity theft were received from the public.

Phasiwe said that surveillance equipment was needed to “combat the armed robberies and provide an early warning for attempted thefts”.

Software to analyse cell phones would be used against criminals involved in the illegal sales of electricity using “ghost vending machines”‚ which generated a 20-digit code required to recharge customers’ electricity meters.

But it does not end there. Contractors must have bulletproof vests‚ firearms and communication systems.

Eskom executives are under fire for being eligible for performance bonuses worth millions while electricity tariffs rise sharply for consumers. Unions have voiced their displeasure over a proposed 7% wage increase at the parastatal.

Other specifications for tasks to be undertaken include organised-crime investigations; intelligence-based investigations; investigations related to arson‚ sabotage‚ armed robbery and hijacking; and firearm and ammunition related anomalies.

In addition, the winning bidder should be familiar with the identification and tracing of illicit financial transactions and funds, and interviewing and questioning witnesses and suspects.

Other capabilities required include compiling affidavits and taking statements; forensic crime analysis and collaboration with law enforcement agencies such as the police‚ the National Prosecuting Authority and South African Revenue Service.

Source: Business Day Live