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Suspected coal thief arrested at Eskom power station

Eskom has commended its security after an alleged coal thief was arrested at Arnot Power Station in Mpumalanga.

The individual was arrested on Saturday, 8 June.

ALLEGED COAL THIEF ARRESTED AT ARNOT POWER STATION

In a statement, Eskom said around 22:00 its Security Investigation’s tactical team spotted a truck that was loaded with coal to be delivered in one of the power stations entering a coal yard in Middelburg, Mpumalanga.

The truck reportedly left the coal yard after about an hour and the members followed it as it then drove to Arnot Power Station.

“On arrival at Arnot Power Station, the truck joined the queue to offload coal. The Eskom Group Security Investigations team checked and discovered that the coal due to be offloaded was discarded coal containing stones. This confirmed the suspected coal swapping witnessed earlier at the Middelburg coal yard,” the group said.

Another truck driver who was arrested for delivering low-quality coal to the Eskom Camden Power Station. Image: X/@SAPoliceService

DRIVER ALLEGEDLY CONFESSED

Furthermore, Eskom said after questioning, the driver of the truck confessed that he had sold the coal that was earlier loaded at a mine in eMakhazeni and which was destined for Arnot Power Station for R6000.

The driver was immediately arrested by members of the Middelburg Hawks Unit who are currently busy with further criminal investigations supported by Eskom Group Security Investigations.

Eskom’s Botse Sikhwitshi commended the security and Hawks teams for arresting the alleged coal thief.

“There is tangible evidence to ensure a successful prosecution of the suspect. The delivery of poor quality coal often leads to unit breakdowns and cannot be tolerated. We hope the perpetrator, once convicted, faces the harshest possible sentence which shall serve as a deterrent to others,” Sikhwitshi said.

NINE ARRESTED FOR SIMILAR CRIME

In September 2023 nine people were arrested at the Kusile Power Station for fraud and coal theft. These included eight weighbridge operators employed by Eskom Rotek Industries (ERI) and a coal truck driver.

The suspects have been detained at the Phola Police Station in Ogies, Mpumalanga.

“A thorough investigation by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and an internal Eskom investigation supported by the Bidvest Protea Coin Investigation Team led to the arrest of the individuals, after information was received that coal haulers would bypass Kusile Power Station without offloading the ordered coal,” Eskom spokesperson Daphne Mokoena said.

Mokena said investigations revealed that the weighbridge operators would process weighbridge transactions without the coal hauler having entered the power station to offload the coal. Kusile Power Station would, however, be invoiced for the coal ordered but not received.

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