A truck driver was arrested this week after he allegedly looted and sold heavy fuel oil destined for a power station in Mpumalanga.
The fuel oil was worth R500 000, but according to the South African Police Service (SAPD), the 42-year-old suspect sold it for R40 000.
Brig. Athlenda Mathe, police spokesperson, says Phumlani Johan Hadebe was arrested on Monday and has already appeared in the Bethal Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud and theft.
It came to light that Hadebe was employed by a company contracted by Eskom to transport heavy fuel oil to the Camden power station.
“However, he never delivered the fuel oil to the plant, but apparently instead took it to a private facility and sold it,” says Mathe.
Heavy fuel oil is used in plants to generate power, among other things.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NatJoints) priority committee for energy security launched an investigation into the incident and shortly afterwards Hadebe was arrested in Gauteng.
Hadebe is expected to appear in court again soon.
The energy security priority committee was set up to investigate crimes that prevent Eskom from fulfilling its mandate.
According to Mathe, this unit has achieved success several times. Between April and October this year, 1,618 crimes were reported to the unit, and this includes cases where critical infrastructure was damaged and fuel and cables looted.
“A total of 1,043 of these cases are still being investigated, but 207 suspects have already been arrested on various charges related to these crimes,” she says.
Operations led by NatJoints, including the SAPS, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, the Department of Home Affairs and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, have so far led to the closure of 63 unregulated coal yards.