Pretoria – A tanker driver, accused of stealing half a million rand worth of fuel meant for delivery to an Eskom power station and selling it for only R40 000, has been arrested and hauled before a court.
Police said earlier this week they arrested the tanker driver for theft of heavy fuel oil meant for use at an Eskom power station.
SA Police Service national spokesperson, Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, said 42-year-old Phumlani Johan Hadebe was arrested on Monday, (13 November 2023).
The accused appeared before the Bethal Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, (14 November 2023), facing charges of theft and fraud.
Brigadier Mathe said Hadebe’s arrest emanates from investigations by the NATJOINTS Energy Safety and Security Priority Committee.
She said the committee was established pursuant to the NECOM mandate to address security, crime, and corruption-related matters hampering the mandate of Eskom.
“The suspect is accused of diverting and selling heavy fuel oil worth R500 000 for R40 000,” said Brigadier Mathe.
“At the time of the crime, he was working for a company contracted by Eskom to deliver the oil at Camden Power Station in Mpumalanga.
“He never delivered the oil to Eskom, and instead delivered it to a private facility and pocketed the money for his benefit.
“Through intelligence he was traced to Gauteng and arrested by police.”
Heavy fuel oil is used in power stations for electricity production and supply.
The Energy Safety and Security priority committee’s investigations have led to significant successes.
Brigadier Mathe said 1 618 cases were reported to SAPS between April and October 2023. These include theft and damage of critical infrastructure, fuel theft, overhead cables, etc.
She said 1 043 of these cases were still under investigation.
At least 207 suspects have been arrested for various charges related to such criminality.
“Operations led by the NATJOINTS including the SAPS, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Department of Home Affairs, and the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy have so far led to the closure of 63 unregulated coal yards,” said Brigadier Mathe.