Five Mpumalanga men will spend time in jail after they were caught red-handed allegedly digging up and skinning copper cables at Eskom's Tutuka Power Station in Standerton.
It is alleged that the fire that broke down at Eskom Tutuka Power Station in Standerton led to the arrest of five suspects who were caught red-handed, digging up and skinning copper cables valued at about R3,200 on November 29, 2022, at about 12am.
On that day, the security personnel on duty received a call regarding a fire that broke out in the utility, and all role players were activated.
“A total of five suspects were caught in the act of digging up and skinning copper cables,” police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala said.
“The suspects, Mokhele Mokhele, 21, Tshwarelo Moloi, 32, Makato Motsepa, 41, Machabe Nkhere, 27, and Johannes Twala, 57, were arrested and then denied bail from their first day in court until their fate was decided on September 27, 2023,” Mohlala said.
Mohlala further added that Mokhele was sentenced to 15 years’ direct imprisonment, while Moloi, Motsepa, Nkhere, and Twala were each sentenced to 10 years’ direct imprisonment for the damage to essential infrastructure.
The Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Semakaleng Daphney Manamela, has indicated that the sentence handed down to the five will hopefully serve as a deterrent to others who might consider engaging in similar offences and damaging the country's essential infrastructure.