Truck driver admits selling Eskom coal to private customer

A truck driver who was assigned to deliver coal to Arnot power station from a mine in eMakhazeni (previously Belfast) has admitted to selling it for R6,000.

This came after he was investigated by the Eskom Group Security Investigations team, which established that what he had in the truck was junk coal with stones.

According to Eskom, the incident happened recently when the truck’s driver joined a queue to offload coal. Security guards questioned the driver about the suspicious looking product. Verification results revealed that the suspected coal-switching occurred at the Midddelburg coal yard.

The driver was arrested by officers of the Middelburg Hawks Unit. The unit’s members said they are busy with further criminal investigations assisted by Eskom Group Security.

Enough evidence for a successful prosecution

Eskom’s acting General Manager for Security, Botse Sikhwitshi, said there is tangible evidence to ensure the successful prosecution of the suspect.

“The delivery of poor quality coal often leads to unit breakdowns and cannot be tolerated. We hope the perpetrator, once convicted, faces the harshest possible sentence. [Hopefully] that will serve as a deterrent to others,” added Sikhwitshi.

Sikhwitshi said Eskom will continue to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure that illegal coal yards are shut down.

“Members of the public are urged to report information regarding illegal activities. [These include] electricity sales, fraud, theft of coal, fuel oil and diesel and all other electricity-related crimes – to the Eskom crime line.”

Load reduction enforced to protect the grid

This happens as the City of Johannesburg, Africa’s richest municipality, has been experiencing enforced power cuts since Monday. The city’s officials have labelled these power cuts as load reduction. City Power, the power utility wholly owned by the City of Johannesburg, said confirmed the power cuts. It said the load reduction is a strategy to address the critical electricity consumption levels in Johannesburg.

“The power system is constrained. We urge customers to reduce their electricity consumption to prevent overloading the system. Customers are hereby reminded of a planned maintenance on Wednesday at Northriding Substation from 9am until 5pm. We apologise for the inconvenience caused,” said the power utility.

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