Joint police operation nets suspected copper cables’ thieves

A joint operation by the police in Primrose and the Ekurhuleni district task team this week netted four men for being in possession of suspected stolen copper cables.

The police acted on a tip-off following a case of theft and raided a house in Primrose, east of Johannesburg, where the men aged between 25 and 37 were cornered.

“The information led the team to an identified address in Primrose where copper cables and two weighing scales were recovered,” said Primrose police spokesperson Sergeant Styles Maome.

Maome said the owner of the house and three suspects were questioned and arrested. They are expected to appear in court soon on charges of theft, possession of suspected stolen property, and tampering with essential infrastructure.

The Bronkhorstspruit regional court this month handed hefty jail sentences to two men who were found guilty of stealing Eskom’s copper cables four years ago.

Anye Nkwenti and Happy Dube were sentenced to 12 and 15 years, respectively, behind bars after the court found them guilty of possession of stolen property and malicious damage to essential infrastructure.

In a statement, Eskom welcomed the jail terms and bemoaned the theft of critical cable and other infrastructure that 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,” said Eskom in a statement.

“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. This has a negative impact on the economy.”

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