- A truck driver and his supervisor from a transport company subcontracted to haul coal to Eskom was arrested at the Matla Power Station on Monday.
- The arrests took place after the truck driver was found to be in possession of sub-grade coal destined for the facility.
- The coal swapping allegedly took place at a known illegal coal yard in the Mpumalanga area, prior to the delivery being made at the Matla Power Station.
The specialist team of investigators from Bidvest Protea Coin, who are contracted to Eskom to investigate coal, diesel and fuel oil theft cases, detected the truck as it entered and left the illegal coal yard heading towards the power station, where it was stopped.
During questioning, the truck driver admitted to offloading the ‘good-quality’ coal he had received from the Arthur Taylor Colliery, located in Mpumalanga. He further alleged that he was acting on the instructions of his supervisor when he proceeded to the Rondebult coal yard to exchange the coal.
The driver and his supervisor, employed by Ukusebenza Transport, were both placed under arrest and a criminal case with various charges was opened with the South African Police Services as per SAPS Vosman CAS 476/11/2022. The truck and trailer with the solen coal was also impounded. The suspects were remanded in custody until 13 December 2022 for a bail application.
Earlier this month, a contractor working at the Camden Power Station was arrested after he was positively linked to an incident of sabotage, and in two separate incidents, truck drivers delivering coal to Camden and Kendal power stations were also arrested.
“Yet again, these arrests are a significant step in rooting out criminals in Eskom. It also confirms the extent of criminality and prevalence of organised crimes affecting the organisation. Eskom has discovered through investigations that the control processes are deliberately bypassed by the criminal employees of the mines, transporters and Eskom alike. We shall pursue these unscrupulous individuals relentlessly and ensure that justice is served,” said Advocate Karen Pillay, General Manager for Security at Eskom.
The replacement of quality coal with discard coal has a serious negative impact on the plants and performance at the power stations. Coal theft is a highly organised criminal activity and syndicates involved are being enriched through the proceeds derived from the trade in stolen coal and other commodities.
The criminal black market for such commodities and establishment of illegal coal yards and dumpsites are expanding at a rapid rate due to the lag in law enforcement and the high levels of corruption and collusion. Eskom loses billions of rand due to the misappropriation of coal and similar commodities which directly affects production.
The Eskom Security Team, Bidvest Protea Coin Tactical Task Team, and the South African Police Services (SAPS), must be commended for their tireless efforts. “It is a clear demonstration of our determination deal with criminality within Eskom,” said Adv Pillay.
Eskom will provide the required support to the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that the suspects are successfully prosecuted and that stiff sanctions are meted out, as a favourable outcome will serve to deter other would-be offenders.
Eskom calls on all citizens and other government departments to support the fight against crime and protect our infrastructure. Eskom urges the public to report information regarding theft of coal, fuel oil and diesel to the Eskom Crime Line: 0800 11 27 22.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal