5 arrested for stealing E107 000 electricity
MANZINI - Five men have been arrested and charged for allegedly stealing electricity worth E107 000 from the Swaziland Electricity Company.
Mpendulo Khumalo (22), Mbongiseni Zwane (38), Boy Mkhatjwa (31) of Eteteni, Bongani Dlamini (30) and Thami Mthunzi (52) of Mfabantfu, appeared before Senior Magistrate Joe Gumedze on Wednesday charged with three counts of theft.
The alleged ‘mastermind’ behind the theft of the electricity was Khumalo, who is said to have been disconnecting cables from the different premises to bypass the meter boxes.
The meter would then read zero, but the electricity would not be disconnected inside the premises. The other four were allegedly helped by Khumalo, who did the same to their meters. Dlamini owns a butchery and Mthunzi has flats at Mfabantfu.
Mthunzi told the court that he did not commit the offence he is said to have committed, but admitted that Khumalo fiddled with the electricity cables at his home.
Senior Magistrate Gumedze told him to reserve that information for the date of trial as they had come for a remand hearing. Zwane, Mkhatjwa and Dlamini were legally represented while the other two said they would conduct their own defence.
Khumalo was granted E40 000 bail, Zwane and Mkhatjwa E20 000 each, Mthunzi E8 000 and Dlamini E2 000.
The ones with the higher bail amounts pleaded with the court for a reduction but the Senior Magistrate told them it depended on the value of what they were alleged to have stolen.
At the time of compiling this report, only Dlamini had paid his bail while the rest were remanded back into custody.
They are expected back in court on May 29, 2012 pending the setting of a trial date.
We lose E14 million monthly - SEC
MANZINI - The Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) has revealed that it loses up to E14 million a month to people making illegal connections.
The company’s Corporate Communications Manager, Sifiso Dhlamini, said they had set up a unit entrusted with conducting random inspections in every homestead or building that uses electricity.
"It has been reported on several occasions that SEC loses up to E14 million a month to people doing illegal connections and by-passes. It is hoped that the team of System Losses Technicians will be able to reduce the commercial losses as they go about inspecting any irregularities in meter boxes," Dhlamini said.
He also said, as part of the reinforcement, SEC would from now onwards issue a reward of E1 000 for any information that could lead to the successful prosecution of a person involved in electricity theft.
"With the escalating reported cases of electricity theft, our company has solidified its strategy of countering this criminal act. If annual trends are anything to go by, most illegal connections are discovered during the winter season. The hard-working team checks on zero-consumption meters and low-buying customers," Dhlamini said.
He also encouraged law-abiding members of the public to join in the fight against electricity theft. Dhlamini urged the public to tip off the electricity thief-busters by dialing the toll-free line 800 9000, or telling any SEC employee. The police can also be contacted.
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