Johannesburg - Two men have been sentenced to at least 12 years imprisonment for stealing Eskom’s copper cables four years ago.
The two convicted criminals were initially arrested in November 2018, along with two other suspects.
The four suspects were caught red-handed cutting copper cables belonging to Eskom at Ystervarkfontein in Welbekend, Tshwane.
Anye Valentine Nkwenti was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, while Happy Dube was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after they were found guilty of malicious damage to essential infrastructure and possession of stolen property.
Gauteng provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela has welcomed the conviction.
“I’m pleased with the successful conviction and sentencing of the accused as this will send a strong message to those who continue to damage our essential infrastructure.
“We remain committed in fighting the scourge of copper cable theft and the protection of essential infrastructure in our province. I’m warning those who are still involved in this criminality - it is just a matter of time before you are also behind bars,” said Mawela.
Police have launched a manhunt for the other two suspects who were arrested four years ago after they failed to appear before court.
Mawela has asked the public to work with the police in finding these suspects.
Anyone who might have information about the whereabouts of these suspects is asked to call the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Jeffrey Selopane, on 076 493 6080 or 083 436 2819.
The conviction of the copper thieves comes as South Africa is currently braced with Stage 2 load shedding between 5pm and 10pm on Wednesday night.