Hawks praised for quick arrests after fuel pipeline tampering
According to Nersa, similar arrests were also made in December and January.
“We commend the sterling and speedy work by our law enforcement agencies in arresting the alleged perpetrators of this economic sabotage,” said the regulator member primarily responsible for petroleum pipelines regulation, Muzi Mkhize.
“We earnestly encourage the general public to co-operate with law enforcement agencies in assisting with information that will contribute to prompt identification, isolation and arrest of the perpetrators of criminal activities.”
The arrest follows an investigation by a solid partnership consisting of the Hawks’ Serious Organised Crime Investigation, Crime Intelligence and Fidelity Security Agency.
The breakthrough in the investigation was mainly due to positive collaboration with the public, Nersa said, who volunteered important information regarding the incidents.
This information resulted in the discovery of a variety of equipment that had been used to tamper with the fuel pipeline, which forms part of Transnet’s pipeline network.
The Hawks confirmed two suspects had been arrested for allegedly stealing diesel from a Transnet pipeline in Delmas on Friday.
“The two were arrested after Transnet security guards spotted a diesel tanker with eight suspects standing next to it,” Hawks spokesperson Dineo Sekgotodi said.
“The suspects ran in different directions after they realised that they had been recognised, however the guards managed to arrest two of them, one of whom was the alleged driver.
“A search of the area yielded no further good results for the security guards, despite being joined by the Serious Organised Crime Investigation team, Delmas SAPS, Witbank SAPS, Flying Squad and the Local Criminal Record Centre.
“At the scene members managed to seize a 20 000-litre diesel tanker, two small generators - one inside the truck, the other mounted to a hose that was busy extracting the diesel from the pipeline and other instruments,” he said.
The suspects, aged between 21 and 28, were expected to appear before the Delmas Magistrate’s Court yesterday for theft of diesel and malicious damage to property.
Investigations were still ongoing and further arrests could not be ruled out.