Four-year prison sentence for copper cable thief

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Andries Koos Mahlangu, the man sentenced by the Kriel Magistrate Court to three years in prison for copper cable theft, last month, will be spending an additional twelve months in prison.

This after the Court cancelled his previous twelve-month suspended sentence following Mahlangu’s repeated transgression.

“We are satisfied with the outcome of this case. The combined four-year sentence sends a stern warning to would-be criminals and those already involved in cable theft that the law views this crime in a very serious light, and that the penalty for those who are caught can be severe,” said Tebogo Rakau, Divisional Executive for Security at Eskom.

Mahlangu was arrested by the Kriel SAPS on 29 October 2016, after he and his two accomplices, who managed to escape the incident scene, were found in possession of approximately 50 metres of copper cable outside Eskom’s Matla Power Station, in Mpumalanga.

“It might seem like the only victims of cable theft are organisations like Eskom and municipalities who have to bear the cost of replacing stolen cable and damaged infrastructure. But the effects suffered by society can be even worse, including prolonged power outages which impact businesses, and ultimately lead to loss of productivity and job cuts. Unplanned power outages resulting from cable theft also affect healthcare services at clinics and endanger the lives of people who are on life support equipment at home,” Rakau said.

In December 2015, President Jacob Zuma signed into legislation the Criminal Law Amendment Act. Under this Act, the theft of ferrous and non-ferrous metals is classified as infrastructure crime and carries a minimum prison sentence of no less than three years for a first-time offender, five years for a second offence and no less than seven years for a third offence.

Rakau thanked all those who have assisted in the fight against infrastructure and electricity theft. He also urged more people to come forward and report the perpetrators of these crimes.

“We urge all South Africans to play a role in the fight against these under reported but serious crimes by sending their anonymous SMS tip-offs to Crime Line on 32211. We can all play a role in halting the perpetrators of infrastructure and electricity theft in their tracks and bring them to book,” Rakau concluded.

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