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ADDITIONAL SUSPECTS ARRESTED FOR SELLING ILLEGAL PRE-PAID ELECTRICITY: FREE STATE
2021/07/15      |  Written By:  Captain C Singo   |   Province:  Free State

FREE STATE – Eight additional illegal pre-paid electricity dealers between the age of 31 and 48 were arrested on Wednesday, 14 July 2021, by the Hawks’ Serious Commercial Crime Investigation team.

The suspects are said to have been responsible for a large-scale pre-paid electricity fraud and theft. Their arrests originates from a  project driven investigation which ensued in May 2020 in Bloemfontein, Free State probing the illicit sale of electricity facilitated by illegal vendors who have in their possession illegal electricity vending machines. ‘Ghost vending’ involves the illegal sales and purchases of electricity.  

The syndicates reportedly operate in groups nationally and generate income of approximately R150 000 to R250 000 per day from illicit sales of electricity. They are highly organized, well-equipped, closely networked and are difficult to track due to the fact that these machines do not transact on a network or at a single place, but are constantly roving.

The suspects were allegedly responsible for selling illegal electricity to pre-paid customers. The other six accused Magala Petros Mohapi, Sipho Joseph Mdlalose, Phindile Florence Mdlalose, Sibusiso Alfred Migal, Donald Vusumuzi Rammusi, and Victor Mdlalose were arrested on Wednesday, 09 July 2021.

The illegal practice of selling prepaid electricity results in multi-million rand losses to Eskom per annum. This loss of revenue and the increase in non-technical losses contributes significantly to the electricity woes of the country.

All additional suspects are expected to appear in the Fochville Magistrates' Court on Thursday, 15  July 2021 whilst the other accused are expected to return to court on the Friday, 29 October 2021.