JOHANNESBURG: Eskom has welcomed the three-year sentences handed to two thieves who stole an underground cable in Midrand.
The pair have been convicted of stealing an underground cable at a substation in Midrand in January this year.
They were convicted last week following investigations.
“We are now hoping that law enforcement agencies are starting to take this matter very seriously. This follows the formalisation, two or three years ago, of the law which plans to punish people severely for stealing cables,” Eskom’s spokesperson Khulu Phasiwe said.
With cable theft steadily on the rise, government and industry are losing millions of rands, resulting in hampered business, damaged infrastructure and stunted development.
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) regards cable theft as a very serious matter and describes it as economic sabotage and treason against business.
Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga highlights that Tshwane, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni lose an estimated R500-million annually, or more than R1-million a day, due to loss of business and electricity outages.
According to Business Against Crime (BAC), the indirect cost to the South African economy is conservatively estimated at 10 times higher than the expenditure required for the replacement value of the cables lost.
Cable theft boasts a detrimental impact on all sectors of the market, effecting direct and indirect industries and service providers including power suppliers, railways, agricultural industries, financial institutions, manufacturing, retailers and more.