Home South African Eskom busts truck driver, supervisor for coal theft

Eskom busts truck driver, supervisor for coal theft

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A coal truck driver and his supervisor from a transport company subcontracted to haul coal to Eskom were arrested at the Matla power station after the driver was found in possession of sub-grade coal destined for the facility.

Picture: SAPS

A COAL truck driver and his supervisor from a transport company subcontracted to haul coal to Eskom were arrested at the Matla power station after the driver was found in possession of sub-grade coal destined for the facility.

Advocate Karen Pillay, general manager for security at Eskom, said the coal swopping 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,” said Pillay.

The cornered driver alleged 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 Service as per SAPS Vosman CAS 476/11/2022,” she said.

The truck and trailer with the load of coal was also impounded.

The suspects have been remanded in custody until December 13 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. 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 Pillay.

She said 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 dump sites are expanding at a rapid rate due to the lag in law enforcement and the high levels of corruption and collusion,” said Pillay.

“Eskom loses billions of rand due to the misappropriation of coal and similar commodities, which directly affects production.”

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