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Kriel - A Mpumalanga man will spend three years behind bars after he was found guilty of cable theft by the Kriel Magistrate court on Monday. 

Andries Koos Mahlangu was tried and convicted following his arrest by the Kriel police on October 29, 2016. 

Mahlangu and two other accomplices were found in possession of approximately 50 meters of copper cable outside Matla Power Station in Mpumalanga.

His two accomplices managed to escape and remain at large, Eskom said in a statement.

Tebogo Rakau, divisional executive for security at Eskom, welcomed the sentence handed down to Mahlangu. 
 
“We are satisfied with the outcome of this case. The sentence sends a message to would-be criminals and those already involved in cable theft that the law views this crime in a very serious light, and that the penalty for those who are caught can be severe,” he said.
 
“It might seem like the only victims of cable theft are organisations like Eskom and municipalities who have to bear the cost of replacing stolen cable and damaged infrastructure. But the effects suffered by society can be even worse, including prolonged power outages which impact businesses, and ultimately lead to loss of productivity and job cuts. Unplanned power outages resulting from cable theft also affect healthcare services at clinics and endanger the lives of people who are on life support equipment at home."