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A 45-year-old scrap metal business owner, Ben Jacobs and two employees attached to Rotex servicing Eskom at Kusile power station Thabang Nxumalo (42) and Jeremiah Mahlangu (48) were granted R1 500 bail each after a brief appearance at Ogies Magistrate’s Court on Friday 13 October 2023.
The trio were arrested in Kendal, Ogies on Thursday 12 October 2023 after copper cables and other metals were found in Jacob’s property in Kendal.
The SANDF and police team tasked with protecting Eskom properties were reportedly going about their regular patrols at Kendal Power Station on Thursday at around 12:00 when they noticed a suspicious-looking Light Delivery Vehicle pulling into one of the scrap metal companies. The group trailed the car. The LDV was in fact parked within the yard when the team arrived.
A Volkswagen T-Cross was also present on the same property. Both vehicles were searched by the team. Three rolls of loose copper cables and two bags filled with copper cables were discovered in the T-Cross, but nothing was discovered in the LDV. Kusile identified the objects, where Nxumalo and Mahlangu are employed.
The owner of the T-Cross concerted to be the lawful owner of the copper cables and produced the proof of purchase. The copper cables were bought from the very same scrap metal business where the vehicle was found and had a receipt proving her statement. Fifteen heavy green metals (Rollers) which were identified by the Kendal power station as the power utility’s property were also found in the scrap yard.
The scrap metal business owner Mr Jacobs and the two employees Mr Nxumalo and Mr Mahlangu were arrested hence their appearance in court. Nxumalo and Mahlangu were charged for damage to essential infrastructure and Jacobs was charged for possession of suspected stolen property. Police cannot rule out possibilities of making more arrests as some of the names of people who sold Eskom properties to Jacobs appear in the items register.
The South African Police Service in Mpumalanga welcomed the arrest of the suspects and commended the partnership between SAPS and SANDF members who formed a strong team to clampdown on those who target the power utility’s properties.