The owner of a copper smelter in Laanglaagte area, Johannesburg, has been arrested on suspicion of running an illegal operation that uses “stolen” electricity.
“We welcome the arrest of the owner of a copper smelter in Laanglaagte area,” said Isaac Mangena, City Power spokesperson on Saturday.
“We also found that the suspect, a Chinese national, is illegally connected, with their own transformer consuming electricity to an estimated value of R1m per month.
“We have preferred charges of tampering with essential infrastructure in terms of Section 3 of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, and are providing support to the police.
“We have moved to disconnect the illegal connection, and allow the police to process the suspect and ensure the punishment fits the crime.
“We are losing millions monthly due to individuals like this who can afford to pay, but they don’t.”
Mangena said such unlawful operations were harming the City because they create a market for stolen copper cables, which they smelt using stolen electricity. The copper is then exported.
“We will be intensifying operations alongside other law enforcement agencies to raid these kinds of operations including scrapyards to ensure we curb the damage caused by cable theft,” said Mangena.