Man accused of tampering with Eskom infrastructure sentenced to 5 years



Published Jun 27, 2024


Power utility Eskom welcomed the sentencing of John Tazvivinga for tampering with Eskom infrastructure.

This is for contravening section 3(1) of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act 18 of 2015.

The Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crime Court convicted Tazvivinga, a former consultant of Inkitha Royal Empire Construction.

Tazvivinga was sentenced to five years in prison with the sentence wholly suspended for five years, provided he does not commit a similar offence during the suspension period.

Additionally, the company has been ordered to pay a R10 000 fine.

The conviction stems from an incident between 2015 and 2016 when Tazvivinga falsely represented himself as an Eskom contractor to the residents of Marhambeni in Mthatha, Eastern Cape.

Eskom said under this pretence, he was hired by residents to connect electricity for which he received R120 000.

The power utility said Tazvivinga unlawfully and intentionally tampered with essential infrastructure by illegally connecting electricity without authorisation from Eskom between January 20, 2016, and April 15, 2016. As a result, Eskom suffered financial prejudice amounting to R231 000.

Tazvivinga and Inkitha Royal Empire Construction were charged by the Mthatha Specialised Commercial Crimes Investigations on July 16, 2019.

“Eskom strongly condemns, and will not tolerate, any impersonation of its business and staff by anyone,” said Botse Sikhwitshi, the acting general manager for security at Eskom.

“We are thankful to the internal security investigations and the Specialised Commercial Crime Investigation teams for their collaborative efforts over the years. While the sentence may not be as severe as Eskom had hoped, it serves as a reminder to potential criminals contemplating tampering with critical infrastructure and stealing electricity, contravening section 3(1) of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act 18 of 2015, which could lead to a maximum prison term of 30 years,” said Sikhwitshi.

“This conviction contributes to the gradual improvement of our convictions, which have doubled in the financial year 23/24 compared to the financial year 22/23, increasing from 11 to 22 recorded convictions,” Sikhwitshi said.

Eskom encourages members of the public to report unlawful activities, including illegal electricity sales and connections, fraud, theft of coal, fuel oil, diesel, and copper cables.

Reports can be made anonymously through the Eskom Crime Line at 0800 11 27 22 or via WhatsApp at 081 333 3323.