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Security guards at Eskom plant arrested for diesel theft

Security guards at Eskom plant arrested for diesel theft
(Photo: Waldo Swiegers / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Eskom faced its third arrest of workers this month, following the apprehension of two security guards at an East London power station, who have been charged with the theft of diesel.

Two security guards have been arrested in connection with the theft of diesel worth R145,930.07 from an Eskom plant, the power utility said in a statement on Tuesday.  

The guards were employed by a security company contracted by Eskom and had guarded the Port Rex power station in East London. According to Eskom, an internal investigation supported by the Bidvest Protea Coin investigation team and the South African Police Service showed that the guards had granted entry to a vehicle that collected the stolen diesel during a night shift; an act for which the guards were paid.

Eskom said criminal charges had been laid and investigations were ongoing to identify any other suspects.

“It is appalling that the individuals entrusted with … safeguarding our infrastructure resort to such acts. These arrests are another significant step in our fight against crime in Eskom, and we shall continue in our pursuit to ensure that the perpetrators face the full might of the law,” said advocate Karen Pillay, general manager for security at Eskom.

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News of the arrest comes a couple of weeks after Eskom announced that rolling blackouts would continue as a result of the power utility running out of funds to procure diesel to keep its open cycle gas turbines running. The turbines limit the rolling blackouts South Africa faces during plant breakdowns. 

By November, Eskom had already spent just more than R12-billion on diesel; an amount that was revised from an initial diesel budget of R6.1-billion, and later increased to R11.1-billion. Eskom’s diesel shortfall as a result of the blown budget will be met by PetroSA.  

Read more in Daily Maverick: Found: Fifty million litres of diesel for fifteen days of relief — but source of funding future supplies remains uncertain 

Earlier this month, an Eskom subcontractor was arrested for allegedly tampering with essential infrastructure at the Camden Power Station in Mpumalanga, News24 reported. According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Monica Nyuswa, quoted in TimesLIVE, the tampering cost Eskom more than R1-million. A week later, a truck driver was arrested at the same station for tampering with coal, News24 reported.  

Cases of sabotage, coupled with ailing infrastructure and the consequences of years of corruption, have seen South Africans face a year with the highest tally of rolling blackouts.

The two guards are expected to appear in the East London Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 30 November. DM/OBP

Absa OBP

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  • Jane Crankshaw says:

    Really? Arrested for theft worth R145k when literally billions has been stolen from Eskom? How stupid do you think the taxpayer is that this little exercise will pass muster and make us happy that something is being done! . Just because you can’t apprehend those with second homes in Dubai, going after small fry is no compensation! In my opinion.

  • virginia crawford says:

    The general manager of Eskom security seems to be constantly surprised by the theft and sabotage at Eskom. How hard can it be to software and technology to track what is happening. A tanker arrives, fills up and leaves and no one notices? What kind of a system is that?

  • Jacques Wessels says:

    Viva the private sector ! In + – 20 years the SAPS could not arrest any of these thieves & really saboteurs

  • Karl Sittlinger says:

    Just the tip of the ANC infested iceberg. I hope they keep up momentum in stopping what can only be called treason and economic sabotage of the highest order.

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